By George Githinji
The Auditor General reports that the County Assembly of Homabay had an unsupported expenditure of sh51 million during the 2013/2014 financial year. That is, the Assembly reported to the Auditor General’s office that it had spent the sh51 million, but sufficient documents were not availed to the Auditor General to prove that the expenditure was authorized or even to prove that goods and services paid for were received for this expenditure.
Much of the unsupported expenditure reported in the Homabay County Assembly arises from non-surrendered imprests. Imprests are cash advances given to government officers that must be returned or accounted for with proper records. They are often not returned or accounted for and sometimes officers who have failed to account for them are allowed to obtain new imprests against government policy.
In the key audit findings for the County Assembly of Homabay, the Auditor General includes ward offices operation expenses, rent payment for ward offices, unaccounted for imprests for transport allowance, unaccounted for provision sum and contingency, purchase of furniture by Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) and payment of mobilization fund to the MCAs. These are the sections in the report that we are going to look at in determining the sh51 million that was ‘unaccounted for’ (unsupported expenditure) in the Homabay County Assembly.
Ward Offices Operation Expenses
The Homabay MCAs received imprests of sh50,000 each per month for ward office expenses totaling to sh24, 000,000 in the financial year 2013/2014. However, no records were maintained to show how the money was utilized.
Rent Payment for Ward Offices
The forty MCAs of Homabay County received imprests of sh20,000 each per month to pay rent for their ward offices, all totaling to sh9,600,000 in the 2013/2014 financial year. However, there was no lease agreement made between the property owners (landlords) and the County Assembly as required.
Unaccounted for Imprests for Transport Allowance
In the financial year 2013/2014, Members of the County Assembly of Homabay were paid transport allowances totaling to sh4,285,000. The money was not accounted for by the end of the financial year.
Unaccounted For Provision Sum and Contingency
Included in the Bill of Quantities for the refurbishment of the County Assembly Hall was a provisional sum of sh1,000,000 for electrical works. Physical verification of the project revealed that no electrification works were carried out. The funds set aside for electrification were paid for services not rendered.
Purchase of Furniture by MCAs
The MCAs were given imprests of sh200, 000 each to purchase furniture for their Ward Offices. They purchased the furniture from various supermarkets without following the required procurement procedures. Afterwards, the total sh8,000,000 given to the MCAs for the purchase of furniture was not accounted for and there was no evidence produced to confirm that the furniture have been taken on charge and recorded in the Assets Register.
Payment of Mobilization Fund to MCAs
During the 4th quarter of the year under review (April to June 2014), the (40) elected Homabay MCAs were each paid sh100, 000 all totaling to sh4, 000,000 through their bank accounts. The purpose of this fund was to mobilize citizens to participate in the determination of ward offices site. Nevertheless, the payment vouchers were only supported with list of names of Members of County Assembly and the authority from Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in form of circulars to pay the fund was not produced for audit review. Consequently, the propriety of the payment could not be determined.
Summary of the sh51M unsupported expenditure in Homabay County Assembly
|Expenditure||Amount in sh|
|Ward Offices Operation Expenses||24,000,000|
|Rent Payment for Ward Offices||9,600,000|
|Unaccounted for Imprests for Transport Allowance||4,285,000|
|Unaccounted For Provision Sum and Contingency (electrical works)||1,000,000|
|Purchase of Furniture by MCAs||8,000,000|
|Payment of Mobilization Fund to MCAs||4,000,000|