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County operated 17 illegal bank accounts, audit report shows

By NATION TEAM
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The latest Auditor-General’s report reveals how a county operated 17 illegal bank accounts and had half a billion shillings worth of unsupported expenditure.

The report details how the Tharaka-Nithi County Government paid Sh62 million to casual workers last year, a 103 per cent increase from Sh6.03 million paid out in 2015.

“The number of casual workers kept on increasing (from 397 in July 2015 to 565 in July 2016) despite the Public Service Board stopping further recruitment of casual workers in January 2015,” read the report for the year ending June 30, 2016.

PETTY CASH

Mr Edward Ouko’s report says the county operated 21 bank accounts, three of them at the central bank and 18 with commercial banks, one of them an imprest account.
“The seven accounts held with the commercial banks were contrary to the PFM (Public Finance Management) regulations, which stipulate that all county government bank accounts shall be opened at the Central Bank of Kenya except for imprest bank accounts for petty cash,” the auditor says.

The auditor also questions a Sh3.6 million difference between the money collected and the amount banked, noting that Sh143 million revenue for that year could not be ascertained.

For instance, despite Chuka Sub-County collecting Sh29.04 million, the county banked Sh25.51 million.

“The county failed to provide monthly banking records for Chogoria, Marimanti, Tharaka South, Tharaka North, Chuka-Igambang’ombe and Maara sub-counties. It was, therefore, not possible to ascertain that all revenue collections were banked intact,” says the report.

The report further reveals major discrepancies on how Kisii and Bomet county governments spent public funds.
TRAVEL

During the year under review, domestic travel expenditure in Bomet increased from Sh67 million to Sh115 million. This expenditure was not supported by a schedule to confirm travel and cost of each trip.

“Foreign travel expenditure of Sh32 million incurred during the year was not supported by a schedule to confirm journeys to foreign countries, names and cadres of officers on the trips and costs for each trip,” states the report.

In Kisii, it was not clear how Sh5 million out of Sh58 million set aside for a local consultancy company was used.

The firm had been contracted to provide consultancy services for digital topographic mapping and preparation of an integrated strategic urban development plan for Ogembo town.

Also, the report details how Nakuru and Nyandarua counties failed to meet their local revenue collection targets for the financial year 2015/2016.

LIQUOR LICENCE

Nyandarua County, for instance, had budgeted for Sh 392 million but realised Sh 281,941,469 resulting in a shortfall of Sh110,058,530.

Most of the revenue was generated from liquor licences, followed by cess collection and royalties.

In Nakuru, there was under collection of liquor licensing fees despite existence of the County Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill passed in 2014.

The passing of the law by the county assembly paved the way for streamlined collection of liquor licence fees as the county took over the liquor licensing function.

In Mombasa, the report details how the county was unable to account for Sh23 million for organising an international cultural festival. The event was dubbed “Tukutane Mombasa”.

The report shows the county used Sh6.3 million for car stickers, Sh3 million for billboards, and Sh3 million for fliers, to advertise the event against the stipulated Sh2 million.

Reports by Patrick Lang’at, Ruth Mbula, Ahmed Mohamed, Eric Matara, and Grace Gitau