Auditor General Edward Ouko has shone a spot light on Tharaka Nithi County Assembly for its poor budgetary expenditures during the financial period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014. The report states that the assembly could not explain some difference of over sh19 million.
An analysis of the total annual expenditure in the manual vote book revealed that the total expenditure controlled through the vote book was sh188,046,860, which differs with the monthly expenditure returns of sh207,433,902. The difference of sh19,387,042 has not be explained.
The assembly also failed to properly account for unutilized funds
The unutilized funds as at 30 June 2014 totaled sh66,269,188 as analyzed in the vote books. These balances were supposed to have been surrendered to the County Exchequer Account and a surrender statement prepared and forwarded to the Controller of Budget. There was no evidence that this was done.
When reviewing the Tharaka Nithi County Assembly accounting system, the auditor unearthed that audit verification of the monthly expenditure returns that the total expenditures incurred during the year ended 30 June 2014 totaled sh207,433,902. However there were no monthly ledgers to support this expenditure.
The auditor also has concerns over the procurement of ipads.
The County Assembly incurred an expenditure of sh1,632,000 on purchase of sixteen (16) Samsung Ipads at a cost of sh102,000 each. The items were supplied and taken on charge in stores ledger and issued to senior officers in the County Assembly. However, the users did not avail the items for physical verifications despite several requests. 3 In the circumstances, it was not possible to confirm the existence of the items.
There were also unaccounted for funds for training. The auditor notes that examination of expenditure records revealed that the County Assembly made payments totaling sh2,452,600 on training and workshops during the period under review. However, the payments were made without the necessary supporting documents, such as minutes, local purchase orders, workshop invitation letters, attendance register, vehicle work tickets/bus tickets and signed payment schedules. As a result, the propriety of the expenditure of sh2,452,600 could not be confirmed.
Some issues in the hiring of new employees without confirming authenticity of various documents was also flagged by the Auditor General.
Audit verification of some of the employees’ files revealed the following;
The copies of the testimonials attached to the job application forms were not certified as true copies of the originals. Further, the County Assembly Service Board had not taken steps to confirm the authenticity of the certificates.
None of the files had a copy of the birth certificate of the employee and it was therefore not possible to confirm the dates of birth of the employees.
(i) The KSCE certificate of one staff who was employed as a Sergeant at Arms showed a mean score of D+ while the advertisement for the position required candidates to have a mean score of C (Plain).
(ii) One staff that was recruited as a Secretarial Assistant had scored a mean score of D (Plain) with a D (Plain) in English in the KCSE while the advertisement indicated that a mean score of C- (minus) and C (Plain) in English was required.
(iii) One staff was recruited as a driver II. However, no driving license and an occupational test certificate were attached to the job application as was required in the advertisement.
The Auditor therefore calls for adherence to the laid down laws and regulations to ensure the anomalies do not recur. Specifically he calls for fidelity to the Public Finance Management Act, 2012, Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005 and the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations 2006.