Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja has said that his county government has inherited more than Sh600 million debt from the administration of former governor John Mruttu, who lost in the August 8 General Election.
Mr Samboja said the debts are mostly owed to suppliers of goods and contractors, who were not paid for services they offered to the county.
"We suspect the debts might be higher than Sh661 million, but we will prioritise (on) paying the suppliers as soon as we settle," he said.
Speaking in his office, the governor said that the county has been unable to settle the debts due to inadequate revenue it collects and the rampant corruption in the department.
He said that part of the problem has been that the revenue collection department has not been performing well and needs a reshuffle.
"We are not raising enough revenue. To make the matters worse, the funds we receive from the National Treasury [are] not enough to clear the debts," he said.
However, he said the new administration will ensure that the county operates within its budget to avoid accumulating too much debts.
Mr Samboja reiterated the need for the revenue department to improve its services, saying it is crucial in mobilising resources to finance projects in the county.
The new governor has warned his administration will not tolerate corruption at any level and that transparency will be the order of the day.
"All four sub-counties will get a fair share of appointments [in] county jobs. Employment will be done on merit and there will be no room for nepotism and tribalism," he said.
The county chief made it clear that where funds have been embezzled or used in the wrong manner, the law will take its course and the perpetrators will not go unpunished.
He said drastic measures have been put in place to ensure that all corruption loopholes are sealed so that residents get value for resources that are available in the county.
County Chief of Staff Philemon Mwaisaka said a thorough audit will be carried out to identify cases where quotation for award of contracts have been exaggerated or where money was paid but work was not done.
"We shall monitor productivity of all [workers] in order to ensure salary paid is equal to the service provided. We are determined to fight laxity," he said.
Mr Mwaisaka said that in the new administration, workers who perform well in their duties will be rewarded.
He said this will motivate workers and improve their performance.