Garissa County Governor Ali Korane was Tuesday at pains to explain how millions of shillings were irregularly spent on the construction of dams, some of which, the governor admitted before Senate, are behind schedule, while others have water unfit for human consumption.
The county spent Sh53.1 million through restricted tendering for the extension of the Kotile water supply to Alijarire and Hubi, the Hagalbul water supply, and sinking of the Dogob borehole.
The projects were awarded mid-May 2018, and by June 30, 2018, they had already been fully paid for, despite the award violating the Public Procurement and Disposal (PPAD) Act.
There was also no justification for the choice of the restricted tendering that the county chose. When questioned about it, Mr Korane attributed it to the then prevailing drought.
However, the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC), before which the governor appeared over audit queries for the financial year ending June 30, 2018, was not satisfied with his answer.
In addition, county government did not avail all the procurement documents for audit, prompting CPAIC chairman Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay) to question the authenticity of the procurements.
“The auditors were in your county. They wrote you a management letter but you failed to provide the required documents,” Mr Kajwang’ said after it emerged that there was no recommendation whatsoever for the restricted tendering as required by law.
“It is not proper for you to give us the documents that were to be provided to the auditors. We are not auditors, we are a bunch of politicians. If the documents are manufactured to satisfy the Senate, it is a serious issue,” he said.
Mr Korane also failed to explain why the contract agreement for the projects lacked completion dates.
The Auditor-General’s report further observed that the Bill of Quantities (BQs) summary, supervision, and monitoring cost, and contingencies were neither supported by the recommendation of an evaluation committee nor approved by the accounting officer, contrary to the law.
Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina said the documents, which were not presented to the auditors but were readily available to the committee, could be fabrications.
“The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) should follow those who were awarded the tenders to find out whether they filed returns,” Mr Kina said.
It was also noted that there were no hydrological tests or environmental impact assessment carried out, and that the drilling of wells was done without permits from the Water Resources Management Authority as a guarantee of the quality and quantity of water.
Further, there was no report on the chemical analysis of the water from the Water ministry to confirm whether the water was fit for human consumption.
At some point Mr Korane looked overwhelmed and turned to his officers, who included Finance CEC and head of procurement, for possible help.