An audit report on the financial operations of the Machakos County Executive in the 2013/2014 fiscal year has revealed grave financial irregularities ranging from blatant flouting of procurement procedures, unsupported expenditure, huge pending bills, un-surrendered imprests to a tampered cashbook under the period of review.
Notably, some of projects that have earned Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua the accolades of the top performing governor were questioned by Auditor General Edward Ouko casting doubts on the government’s financial prudence on the much-hyped Maendeleo chap chap mantra.
For instance the tarmacking of the 33Km Kithimani –Makutano Ma Mwala by 11 contractors at a total cost of Sh568.7M did not have a procurement plan but the County Government still invited bids from eligible construction companies for road works.
Consequently, no feasibility study for the road was carried out and the advertisement for the works was done once in the Daily Nation and in a monthly publication called The Anchor contrary to Section 54 (10) of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005.
The report further states that the road was hurriedly commissioned and opened to traffic on 26 June 2014 yet the work on the road was incomplete.
“By 14 October 2014, only four contractors had substantially completed their works to the satisfaction of the Resident Engineer, while the other seven contractors had not completed the works and were still under the contractual agreement,” reads the report.
On the procurement of 70 ambulances at a cost of Sh145.3M the audit report noted that the ambulances were second hand and that no needs assessment had been done before the ambulances were procured.
The log books for the ambulances were not produced for audit review and the vehicles were in civilian number plates and registered in the name of a private company.
“It is not clear how the ambulances, which were meant to belong to the County Government, could be registered in the name of Pharmatec Limited,” states the report.
Similarly, the purchase of 32 tractors to aid farming at a cost of Sh41.2M was done without a needs assessment was carried out. The report further states that no details were provided on the procurement process of the tractors and therefore their value and age could not be determined as supporting documents were not availed.
“No work tickets were availed for audit scrutiny to indicate how the tractors were being utilized making it difficult to monitor the use of the tractors,” says the report.
The County purchased 91 Nissan Tiida as police vehicles and the Kenya Police Service took possession of the Tiidas without a memorandum of understanding as earlier planned.
The vehicles also did not have work tickets and can be fueled by either the County Government or the Police thus creating a loophole for fraudulent activities where both parties can claim to have fueled the vehicles.
The report also questioned the procurement of 40 green houses and seeds by the Department of Agriculture at a total cost of Sh50.8M without a distribution list of the beneficiaries.
Other questionable expenditures revealed include road marking between Kamulu and Koma Hill section done for Sh8.5M through a request for quotations instead of open tender and the street lighting project from Kyumbi turnoff to Machakos town, which did not have a cost analysis to determine the total amount incurred on the project.
The report also raised eyebrows on the construction of the governor’s office, which had stalled despite Sh57M being spent on the project.
“A visit to the project site established that the project had stalled and Sh57M had been spent out of which Sh28M had been paid out. It was therefore not clear whether the project was properly planned and budgeted for,” outlines the report.
Similarly, imprest amounting to Sh46M which was due for surrender remained un-surrendered as at 15th August 2014 while the cash book had been tampered with to read certain figures, which the Auditor General said was fraudulent.
The report also revealed pending bills amounting to Sh712M with the Department of Transport and Water having the highest amount of sh385M and sh234M respectively.
The audit report on the Machakos County Executive arm has raised several expenditures queries and financial propriety on some of the projects that Governor Mutua has initiated and it would be interesting to see how things will play for the governor ranked the best in the country in various opinion polls.