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Suppliers in Marsabit County paid Sh600m in pending bills

Wednesday January 22 2020
marsa-pic

Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali speaks in Sagante on January 21, 2020. He vowed not to pay fake pending bills. PHOTO | JACOB WALTER | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JACOB WALTER

Marsabit County has paid Sh600 million in pending bills out of the genuine Sh900 million owed to suppliers, Governor Mohamud Ali has said.

“We are on the right track and are striving to be in compliance with the National Treasury’s directive on pending bills,” Governor Ali said on Tuesday.

Speaking during the issuance of title deeds in Sagante village in Saku Sub-County, Governor Ali said the remaining money will be paid upon thorough reconciliation of records.

He said that his administration inherited Sh1.1 billion from the previous administration out of which only Sh900 million was genuine.

DUBIOUS CONTRACTORS

The governor alleged that dubious contractors colluded with some officials in the former administration to swindle the county government through ghost projects.

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An audit carried out by the county revealed that pending bills amounting to Sh200 million were fake and, therefore, ineligible for payment.

Mr Ali said that he has no issues paying the genuine pending bills as long as there is proper documentation to support the claims.

His sentiments were echoed by Senator Godana Hargura and Saku MP Dido Rasso who faulted the National Treasury for withholding money and consequently derailing operations in counties across the nation.

APPEAL FOR FUNDS

“I wonder how the national government expects counties to settle their pending bills without releasing funds to them. We appeal to President Kenyatta to look into the matter and save ordinary citizens who are currently suffering due to grounded essential services in the counties,” Senator Hargura said.

The National Treasury has continued to withhold funds to the counties that have not cleared their pending bills.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani announced in November 2019 that all county governments will be required to provide monthly status reports that will include an itemised list of all the bills paid before funds are released to them.

An audit carried out last year by former Auditor-General Edward Ouko showed that about Sh51.28 billion, out of Sh108.41 billion pending bills in counties, was genuine.

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