Ten-woman representatives are on the spot for misusing millions of monies from the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).
According to the Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, there were irregular expenditures in excess of Kshs. 54 million under the patronage of Getrude Mbeyu (Kilifi), Purity Ngirici (Kirinyaga), Rahab Mukami (Nyeri), Faith Gitau (Nyandarua), Kawira Mwangaza (Meru), Beatrice Nkatha (Tharaka Nithi), Jane Wanjiku (Embu), Zuleikha Hassan (Kwale), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) and Roza Buyu (Kisumu).
The AG stated that the anomalies ranged from diversion of funds from intended use, unaccounted for bursary spending to procurements exceeding the set limits.
In Kwale, the auditor reported that 28 groups were funded at Sh9.6 million, yet they did not qualify for funding because the groups had failed to meet the threshold of 100 members, had existed for less than the required. six months and lacked the seed funding of at least Kshs. 300,000. Additionally, resolutions of properly constituted meetings and the agreements between the county committee and the beneficiary groups were not provided for audit review.
Within the same county, the AG further flagged projects worth Sh14 million, which were undertaken without public participation, and another Kshs. 4.2 million spent on ineligible projects. The county committee used the same members for both opening and evaluation of various tenders in breach of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.
In Embu, there was no evidence provided to confirm how 600 students were identified for bursary awards to the tune of Kshs. 4.5 million. Moreover, beneficiaries of bursaries amounting to Kshs. 2.17 million had not acknowledged receipt. More than Ksh1.2 million spent on boda boda training was flagged as well as Ksh390,000 spent on Covid-19 emergencies despite the value exceeding the low-value threshold for procurement.
In Tharaka Nithi, a self-help group was granted Kshs. 165,000 to buy an incubator for hatching chicks, but members diverted the money to purchase a motorbike at KSh106,000 and shared the Ksh59,000 amongst themselves. Another group of persons living with disability was issued Ksh189,000 for a similar cause but diverted the funds and shared Ksh10,000 each among 16 members. There was no explanation provided for the irregular diversions.
Additionally, the Tharaka Nithi NGAAF awarded Ksh3.7 million bursaries to 600 students, but the beneficiary institutions did not acknowledge receipt of Ksh3.3 million making it impossible to ascertain whether the funds were put to the beneficial use of the intended institutions and individuals.
Within Meru County, there was no evidence on the registration status of the Mwangaza GBV Rescue Centre worth Ksh. 38 million being constructed by Meru NGAAF. The centre is supposed to be registered by the government as one prerequisite for funding.
Moreover, Meru NGAAF could not explain the validity of Ksh 8.3 million spent on bursaries for 600 students in the county, as there was no evidence of public participation.
In Nyandarua, the NGAAF provided bursaries to 291 university students to the tune of Ksh 3.2 million contrary to the funding guidelines. Whereas in Nyeri, the AG raised concerns the NGAAF committee was yet to rewrite stale cheques amounting to Kshs. 3.3 million, some dating back to July 1, 2017.
In Kirinyaga, Kamiriji Progressive Youth Group received Kshs.100,000 for chicken rearing project, but the group diverted the funds to a table banking project without the approval of the Fund and the Board.
Kilifi NGAAF incurred an expenditure of Kshs. 5.7 million for items that did not qualify for direct procurement.
In Homa Bay, the auditor said NGAAF management breached the law on the construction of market sheds and pit latrines at Rangwe market at Kshs.15.5 million because the cost of the project exceeded the stipulated threshold of Ksh. 4,000,000. On the other hand, Kisumu County irregularly awarded a tender of Kshs. 11.7 million for the construction of Akado market.
Misuse of government funds denotes lack of accountability and selfish interest by our politicians. The irregularities are usually meant to benefit themselves through their proxies or business allies. Following the Auditor General’s revelations, the anti-corruption agencies should move in speed and summon the woman representatives to explain the anomalies in the NGAAF expenditure in order to deter corruption in the grassroots. Otherwise, corruption will continue to thrive in the devolved units; as long as the legislators are not brought to book.