Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma spent nearly Sh21 million on accommodation in a hotel as the devolved government renovated his official residence.
A damning report released by Auditor-General Edward Ouko also revealed that even as the millions were paid to the hotel for Mr Ranguma’s stay, another Sh540,000 was paid by the county government as the governor’s house rent at the same time.
It was unclear why Mr Ranguma could not use his house as the county government went on with renovations on the official residence.
Many governors in Nyanza have sought accommodation in three- and five-star hotels in Kisumu, abandoning lavish homes renovated by county governments.
MOVED TO HOUSE
“In the year under review, the county government paid Sh20,910,169 to a hotel for the governor’s full board accommodation, car hire and other hotel services,” said the report.
The audit said after being in the hotel for months, Mr Ranguma moved into the new house in Kisumu, whose rent was Sh250,000 a month.
“With effect from July 9 2013, the governor moved into a rented premises where the county government paid a monthly rent of Sh250,000,” says the report.
However, despite moving into the new house, the report says the Kisumu hotel still charged the county government Sh522,124 between July 9 and August 1, 2013.
Still at the hotel, a car was hired for Mr Ranguma at Sh25,000 a day, excluding Value Added Tax and fuel expenses.
The county government was billed and paid Sh552,124 for full accommodation at the hotel between July 9, 2013 and August 1, 2013, resulting in double payment for accommodation for the period in question.
“The expenditure for the car hire and fuel expenses totalled Sh5,552,913 from May to September 2013. However, there was no agreement and it was not clear how the hotel was identified and awarded the contract,” the auditor stated in the report.
Also questioned is the rationale behind the hiring of cars even after Governor Ranguma was allocated three vehicles by the county government.
Even more astonishing is the fact that the vouchers totalling Sh9 million paid to the hotel where Governor Ranguma was being accommodated were not made available for audit verification and the payment was not confirmed.
The report also says the county government choked the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Referral Hospital of funds, stifling important operations and jeopardising service delivery.
In September 2013, the National Treasury, according to the audit report, said it had released Sh395 million to the region’s largest referral hospital, but the Kisumu County Government only released Sh129 million to the hospital.
“The county government, however, only released Sh129,556,429 to the hospital, leaving a balance of Sh266,080,052 which to date, and without any explanation, has not been released. In its response, the executive said that the amount would be factored in in the next budget,” the report said.
The Auditor-General wants to know why the county executive spent the money meant for the hospital on explained budget areas.