We continue our examination into how counties are wantonly blowing money and spending incredible amounts on things that do not benefit the citizens they are elected to serve. The corruption has not decreased, rather the County leadership has expanded the eating table and spread the loot around. As a result, we have counties where all is in harmony. Where no dissenting voice or challenges to county expenditure or budget is heard because they are all in it together.
This is still one of the biggest channels of corruption in Kenya. Is there public procurement in Kenya that does not result in loss of funds? Jog your memory a bit to Anglo Leasing, the National Hospital Insurance Fund, Independent Electoral and Boundaries (IEBC) chicken scandal. Now these are happening on a smaller scale all over the country.
The truth of the procurement scams will take a while to come to light. However, I have seen payments confirming how county governments “eating” taxpayers money.
How can a county justify the purchase of 10 boxes of biro pens for KES 200, 000 and 2 thirty two inch televisions for 300,000? From the sh500, 000 paid in this instance sh440, ooo was “eaten”. A whooping 88 percent lost. What about contracts running into billions of shillings?
“To do business with counties and not give kickbacks is impossible. These days everyone in the process wants a kickback and you are luck if you have 50 percent of the contract value left, tells one seasoned “tenderpreneur”.
To beat the kickbacks, vendors inflate costs so that the contract value includes the kickbacks. As a result, more money ends up in individuals pockets than in actual purpose.
To facilitate kickbacks, the county decision makers are also engaging in a lot of nepotism since they cannot trust complete strangers to deliver kickbacks.
By passing IFMIS and GPAY
The Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS) was installed for a unified financial management system across all governments.
Payments should be processed through IFMIS which is integrated with the Central Bank‘s G-Pay system which remits the money directly to the supplier account.
County governments and Assemblies are bypassing these systems and paying the vendors directly. Therefore, there’s no track of who is getting paid, most likely, these are briefcase companies owned or linked to the county leaders and staff.
Some of the counties that have been flagged for not using or intermittently using IFMIS include Bomet, Kisumu, Marsabit, and Embu. They blame it on almost always on connectivity issues or lack of trained staff. All these billions later and county governments cannot solve an internet connection problem or get staff properly trained.
High Recurrent Expenditures
Channeling money from counties has taken another direction with “legitimate” expenses being piled on the county governments for eating. In some counties, recurrent expenditure exceeds actual funds released for recurrent activities. Not all recurrent expenditure is corruption, salaries have to be paid, utility bills cleared on time and cars fueled. However, if your county spends 80 percent of the revenue on recurrent expenses, look closely because it means that development is no longer important to them. If they seem more interested in tying down as much of the money to recurrent expenses, that is a massive red flag and you should be concerned about that.
Kenya may have the most widely traveled MCA’s in Africa. Dubious but unfortunately true. They have been everywhere in the world to learn and benchmark. If only they took lessons in prudent management of resources. MCA’s have turned travel into the biggest cash cow under devolution after their sitting allowance.
Within the counties, MCA’s are abusing the imprest system and per diems to claim for monies even when they fail to take a trip. In Nairobi, Vihiga, Taveta, Nakuru there are alleged false claims, exaggerated amounts and the surrender forged receipts for reimbursement.
We need to be watchful, lest devolution creates a few millionaires in every county at the expense of millions of poor people.