The process in which the county government of Nakuru hired a County Executive Committee (CEC) member who was allegedly unqualified for his post has returned to haunt the Kinuthia Mbugua led government.
In his report of the financial operations of the Nakuru County Executive for the period of 1st July 2013 to June 2014, the Auditor General has questioned how the CEC was hired without proper vetting.
“Documents available indicate that the County Executive Member in charge of Trade, Industrialization, Tourism and Wildlife Management used fake academic certificates to secure the job,”
the Auditor General says in his report while referring to Sam Gitau the now former CEC who was forced to resign after his case was exposed last year by The Standard.
“It was not clear how the member’s resume was scrutinized or why reference from the former employer was not sought,” the report reads.
“He resigned in May 2014 after a salary totaling sh2,632,500,” the Auditor General notes.
With this the Auditor General falls short of stating that both Gitau and his employers are liable for the money that he was paid following a process that was unauthentic.
The report is being received at a time when the county is being suspected of hiring staff irregularly. On Wednesday 7 th October, the Chairman of the County Public Service Board Dr. Waithanji Mutiti was grilled by the Assembly on allegations of over hiring 80 Ward Administrators instead of 55 (this being the official number of the Wards in the County).
Apparently Dr. Mutiti’s board’s expenditure has also been questioned by the Auditor General.
“The County Executive paid sh1,300,000 to the County Public Service Board members for accommodation in hotels while on duty in the County. However, the days in respect of which the amounts were paid were not indicated. It was therefore, not possible to confirm the genuineness of the expenditure,” the report reads.
The Auditor General has also questioned how
“the County executive transferred sh150 million to the County Assembly to cater for Members of the County Assembly Car grant.”
“The funds were not budgeted for and approved by the Controller of Budget,”
says the Auditor General while adding that
“failure to follow the budget leads to poor financial management and consequently poor service delivery.”
In addition to this, the Auditor General questions the transparency in which more than sh60 million was disbursed as bursaries to “County Wards” and through the “County Ministry of Education.”
“No returns were provided to indicate how the funds were utilized, who the beneficiaries were and confirmation that the funds were used for the intended purpose,”
he says about the sh1,375,000 bursaries to County Wards that he argues was unaccounted for.
“There is a risk of the funds not reaching the intended beneficiaries thus leading to loss of public funds.”
For the rest of the money that was spent on bursaries to secondary, tertiary and other academic institutions of higher learning he cites what he sees as an anomaly in the expenditure as the money may have been disbursed
“even though the education function has not been devolved.”
“There were no acknowledgement letters from the institutions to confirm receipt of funds. It was therefore not possible to authenticate the expenditure.”
Other issues that have been cited by the Auditor General include cash and bank balances of outstanding imprests amounting to sh20 million, settlement of inherited debts totaling to more than sh260 million, pending bills totaling to more than sh1.2 billion, and the procurement of motor vehicles, tippers, dozer, and shovels which cost the county more than 200 million.
But what might even arouse reaction even the more is the redirection of a conditional grant of sh390, 283, 988 that was meant for the Rift Valley General Hospital to other medical facilities that had not been factored initially.
“The services offered by level 5 hospitals were, therefore, negatively affected due to inadequate funding.”
There is also an income tax penalty of sh9 million that the County paid out of “poor cash flow management.”
“The nugatory payment could have been avoided had the executive followed prudent financial management systems,” he says.
Then there is also the process in which the “government procured 27 vehicles at a cost (of) sh161, 851, 596” in which the Auditor General cites “a risk of loss of assets” as he points out that “log books for 26 vehicles had not been received by the time of the audit.”
Still on procurement the Auditor General is not convinced the county government followed the right procedure while procuring some heavy earth moving machines.
“During the period under review, the County Executive purchased motor graders, dozer with Ripper 200-21HP and wheel loaders for sh55, 680,200.”
“However, the tender documents did not have the clear specifications of the machines to be supplied as required by Section 52 of the Public Procurement Act, 2005 leading to huge variations between the highest and lowest bidders.”
“Non adherence to procurement procedures may lead to loss of public funds,”
reads the report that was signed on July 1.
The findings of the expenditure of public funds by County governments are an insight on the future of devolution. Whether as a system of governance it (devolution) will take us to the promised land will depend so much on how the county governments will be efficient in the use of public funds now and in the coming years.
One can only hope that all the responsible offices in the County will offer adequate explanations on these and many other unseen anomalies.