Nakuru Members of County Assembly spent nearly Sh70 million in unauthorised overseas trainings and domestic travel, Auditor General Edward Ouko has revealed.
The 2017/2018 report shows that the MCAs spent Sh13 million on overseas training whose course content was not approved in accordance with the Public Service Recruitment and Training Policy.
Mr Ouko further indicates that the courses were readily available locally at a lower cost.
“It was not clear why the MCAs decided to attend the training overseas wasting taxpayers’ money," reads part of the report by the Auditor General.
The report also indicates that the MCAs irregularly spent Sh53,625,576 on unjustified domestic travel and subsistence.
It emerged that Sh9 million out of the Sh53.6 million was used on committee meetings held outside the Assembly without reasonable justification. This, the report says, happened despite availability of enough space within the House premises.
“Had the committee sittings and report writing sessions been held within the assembly premises, the money could have been saved,” stated the report.
The Auditor General also identified an irregular expenditure of Sh10.2 million by the assembly.
According to the report, the money, part of which was paid to MCAs as per diem, was irregularly spent in excess of the approved threshold set by the procurement rules and regulations.
Also during the year under review, the county assembly lacked an Audit Committee in breach of the Public Financial and Management Act.
“The assembly’s internal audit department was manned by two officers who reported to the Accounting Officer, instead of the Audit Committee, thereby undermining its independence,” said Mr Ouko in the report.
The report also revealed that there were no internal audit reports produced to show that internal controls were continuously reviewed to ensure compliance with the law.
The county assembly has pending bills of more than Sh23million including legal costs for 15 cases pending in courts. However, assembly Speaker Joel Kairu has said that no money was lost.
In a phone interview with the Nation Mr Kairu insisted that the expenditure was lawful.
“The money was prudently used by the MCAs, as authorised. MCAs attending report writing sessions must be paid. I challenge the Auditor General to show us a conference hall within the assembly which we should have used instead of going to hotels,” said Mr Kairu.
Ward representatives from across the country have previously been on the spot over fleecing millions of taxpayers’ money through unsupported expenditure, unnecessary domestic and foreign travels.
They have been accused of taking advantage of their role in appointing speakers to demand millions in foreign and bench-marking trips that continue to deprive counties money to finance meaningful development projects.