The recently published report by the Auditor General on the expenditures of county governments during the financial year 2014/2015 for Mombasa County Assembly is telling of public funds being pilfered. It was nothing but shock and disbelief as Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar had earlier pointed out. As inscribed in the Constitution of Kenya and the Public Audit Act 2003, the report had been conducted on all County Governments. Nonetheless, in focus of the Mombasa Assembly County, the report led to the discovery of vast amount of funds unaccountable for. Among the key audits was the sitting allowances.
According to audited report, it revealed that a total of sh14,448,150 had been spent but a further sh14,515,359 committed but not paid. The payment vouchers showed a total of sh45,668,306 had been spent. Thus it was not clear how the commitment of funds were made.
Another revelation was on the payments for training and seminars. The expenditure could not be verified since there were no payment vouchers and it was still unclear the people who were trained, the nature and venue of it. It was revealed that there were officers holding imprest for more than six months recorded at an outstanding total of sh34,481,237. The same goes for accommodation and subsistence allowance where the records availed show sh8,531,142 and sh5,771,881 were spent and no any payment vouchers were available during the audit to ascertain who was paid the subsistence allowance or the supplier of the accommodation.
The audit report also revealed a lack of procurement plan for the period under review. There was indication of pre-qualified supplies which is against the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005. However, the County Assembly had purchased 24 pieces of iPads with a total value of sh2,520,000 split into three orders of sh840,000 done through a request of quotation and not via open tender.
Further ahead, the assembly had spent sh1,545,960 on hiring of vehicles to transport County Assembly members to Kisumu for a workshop not subjected to a competitive bidding. To add salt into injury, no members who had attended the workshop were present during the audit.
Among other procurement vices was the purchase of approved stationery at sh30,000 with a total payment of sh1,614,500 in cash to the contrary of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005. The report noted that the County Assembly had not established or constituted procurement committees. No tender evaluation, inspection, or acceptance and negotiation committees whatsoever.
There was also irregular payment of air tickets amounting to sh8,427,707 that was unaccountable for. Likewise, it was also availed that there was irregular payment of Ward rents. An expenditure of sh3,319,200 could not be ascertained.
The final stroke to the camel’s back was the advance sh3,000,000 car loans given per member amounting to an outstanding sh117,000,000 which is above the regulated sh2,000,000 resulting to a total of sh39,000,000 in excess.
Residents of Mombasa County are still trying to wrap their heads over the amount of cash that could have been lost. Perhaps they should use the opportunity availed in the Constitution to seek answers from the County Assembly on the use of these questionable deals. In addition, they could petition the Senate to intervene and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to further investigations and take necessary action against those whoa re found guilty of misappropriating public funds.