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Audit raises eyebrows on Sh16 billion for tablets

Tuesday October 16 2018

School tablets

Standard One pupils at Mwangea Primary School in Voi, Taita-Taveta County, use digital tablets on July 19, 2016. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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The ICT ministry cannot account for Sh16.3 billion spent on the digital literacy programme for Standard One pupils, according to Auditor-General Edward Ouko's report.

The payment of Sh15.2 billion for the tablets according to the audit report as at June 30, 2017, was supported by nine letters of credit but whose payment vouchers were not presented for audit review, meaning that Mr Ouko cannot confirm the propriety of the expenditure as claimed by the ministry.

Further, about Sh603.1 million was spent for the supply of the tablets as proof of concept initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013 notwithstanding factory defects, which were not replaced by the supplier despite being detected. “After the supply and commissioning of the devices, the implementing committee went round to inspect them and noted that they all had factory defects and were supposed to be replaced by the supplier,” Mr Ouko says in the report tabled in National Assembly by Majority Leader Aden Duale.

Mr Ouko adds: “As at the time of audit in March 2018, there was no evidence to show that the tablets were replaced. Consequently, it has not been possible to confirm the propriety of expenditure.”

The audit further revealed that supporting documents for the expenditure of Sh237.9 million as well as the Sh1.6 million in the presidential digital talent programme were not presented for review.

There is also the expenditure of Sh28.32 million in county connectivity project expenses whose supporting documents were not presented for review. According to Mr Ouko, about Sh290 million was spent in operation costs of the programme but the amount cannot be accounted for as the ministry did not provide the documents sought by officers from the office of the Auditor-General.

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“In the circumstances, it has not been possible to confirm the propriety of the expenditure and whether it is a proper charge to public resources,” Mr Ouko said.

The report is expected to be considered by the Public Accounts Committee.