Benjamin Cheboi

Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi. According to the Auditor General, the county executive cannot account for close to 137 million spent during the 2013/2014 financial year (Photo: Standard).

The County government of Baringo cannot conclusively show how it spent close to sh137 million during the 2013/2014 financial year. After an audit of the county’s accounts of the said period the Auditor General reported a repeated trend in irregular spending and allocation of funds as well as disregard of government policy in procurement processes.

The above amount includes sh48 million that was spent in the implementation of civil works projects by the health department. The projects were to be done by 7 contractors who were awarded the contracts through the

“request for quotations method although the contract sums for each exceeded the sh4 million threshold for class A procuring entities.”

“However, there was no documentary evidence to show how the subcontractors for these works were selected and awarded contracts. Also the purpose of the project management expenses included in the provisional costs has not been explained or accounted for,”

the Auditor General says while questioning why some of the contracts were halted.

“As at the time of this audit, construction of (a) theatre at Kabartonjo District Hospital had stalled and the contractor was not on site. No reason was provided for this state of affairs.”

“Further, construction of (a) mortuary at Kabarnet District Hospital which commenced on 28 October 2013 and ought to have been completed by 28 June 2014, was still not complete. Partitioning and floor tiling were yet to be done,” the Auditor General says.

He adds,

“the rest of the work that had been completed had not been handed over. In addition, the minutes of the Contract Tender Opening Committee and Tender Committee awarding the contract were not provided for audit review.”

Apart from the sh48 million the government could not support its expenditure of sh30 million which is detailed in the report as ‘Payment to Institutions.”

Leading in that list of the expenditure which was supported by “LPOs (Local Purchase Orders), payment vouchers, invoices and goods receipt notes” is KEMSA (Kenya Medical Supplies Authority) with sh10.7 million, Kabarnet District Hospital with sh6.4 million and a company called M/s Unlock Africa with sh5.5 million.

Again the audit revealed that imprests amounting to more than sh20 million were not cleared in time as is required by law.

“In addition, some officers were holding multiple imprests contrary to Government Financial Regulations and Procedures governing issuance of imprest. No reason was provided for holding some imprests since April 2013 and not complying with the regulation,” the Auditor General says.

The Auditor General also questioned the use of more than sh5.6 million which was

“irregularly charged to wrong expenditure items without authority to reallocate expenditure.”

“Such irregular charge of expenditure may adversely affect the implementation of some programs,” he observed.

He also noted irregularities in the procurement processes in the county that could not be well explained. This included the single sourcing of legal and hotel services as well as irregular payment of pending bills of defunct local authorities, all of which gave a total of more than sh5 million that could not be well accounted for.

“The Baringo County Executive should address the anomalies noted in order to ensure effective delivery of services to the people of Baringo County. Laid down Government procedures and processes should be adhered to ensure public resources are only utilized for purpose for which they were intended,”

he advises.