KICC assets at risk of auction over Sh211m debt: report
Suppliers who did business with the KICC will be forced to seek court redress to get paid as the deadline for a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta has elapsed with no action.
Sixty nine businesses are owed at least Sh211 million, a huge chunk dating back to supplies made during the World Trade Organization (WTO) inter-ministerial conference that took place in 2015.
However, the Office of Auditor-General, which verified the claims after a special audit in September 2018, warned that court action could cause the KICC to lose its property.
“The corporation [risks auctioning of its assets] in the event that the claims are not settled, as most claimants have contracts, LPOs, LSOs and award letters,” the audit report says.
The suppliers also have documents showing delivery of goods and services as well as confirmation of works, from the KICC.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has been keen on clearance of all pending bills without audit queries.
While delivering his Christmas message in Mombasa County on December 24, 2019, he directed all Cabinet Secretaries to ensure the bills are cleared by January 15.
The fresh directive followed similar orders, issued on June 30, 2019, and November 30, 2019 that could not be effected.
The suppliers are unaware of what will happen given the January 15 deadline has passed.
“We have already instructed our lawyers to prepare relevant papers for filing in court. It is like some individuals do not want to comply with the presidential directive,” said one who requested anonymity.
Reached for comment, the KICC’s Finance General Manager, Mr Gerald Kirimi, declined to comment and directed journalists to Chief Executive Officer, Ms Nana Gecaga.
“I am not authorised to issue any communication on this matter. The only person who can give you the information you need is the CEO,” Mr Kirimi said.
Ms Gecaga did not respond to calls and text messages from the Nation.
Ms Gecaga is the President Kenyatta’s niece and sister to Jomo Gecaga, the President’s Private Secretary.
She was required to explain why she paid Sh86 million owed during the 2018/19 financial year as it was not clear whether it was for the bills verified by the audit.
The objective of the special audit was to establish the authenticity, validity and integrity of the process and claims arising from all the projects undertaken during the WTO conference.
It was also aimed at establishing whether the financial transactions and operations at the KICC were in accordance with the law and the government’s financial regulations.
The KICC is reeling under debt but government agencies, private firms including faith-based organisations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), current and former employees owe it Sh667 million.
This is according to its financial report as of June 2018.
The Office of the President and its various departments owe Sh40 million, Parliament Sh65 million, Treasury Sh27 million, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sh20 million and Kenya Investment Authority Sh6 million.
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) owes Sh5 million, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Sh12 million, the IEBC 5.7 million and comedians MC Jessy Sh600,000 and Chipukeezy Sh100,000.