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Audit report unearths Sh3bn relief food scam

Sunday July 28 2019

relief food.

Residents of Kibish, Turkana County, share relief food on July 3, 2019. The State Department of Special Programmes under Ministry of Devolution cannot account for Sh3.4 billion. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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The State Department of Special Programmes under Ministry of Devolution cannot account for Sh3.4 billion.

The money was spent in the distribution of relief food for vulnerable persons in what appears to be blatant misuse of public funds, according to the latest report of Auditor General Edward Ouko.

The report for the financial year 201/18 tabled in the National Assembly by leader of majority Aden Duale last week, has unearthed discrepancies in the relief foodstuff receipts and distribution, meaning that it may not have reached intended beneficiaries.

ACCOUNTABILITY

“In view of the foregoing, the accuracy completeness, validity and accountability of transfer balance of Sh3.4 billion could not be confirmed,” Mr Ouko says.

For instance, Mr Ouko notes that the State Department of Special Programmes does not follow up to ensure any relief foodstuff sent to the counties is received by the intended beneficiaries.

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This was evident from the inconsistencies in the dispatch records and the receiving records maintained by the sub-counties.

Mr Ouko notes that although the documentation involved in the procurement of the relief commodities were made available, those for distribution to beneficiaries and the basis of their selection, were not provided for audit scrutiny.

“Therefore, there is nothing to show that the foodstuff was received by the beneficiaries. There was no documentation on how the needy persons were identified and hence no support of how the quantities of various destinations were determined,” Mr Ouko says.

Various anomalies in relief receipts and distribution to the susceptible populations were for instance, cited in the sub-counties of Mwatate, Kilifi North, Baringo Central, Kitui Central and Makueni after an audit inspection.

RELIEF FOOD

These sub counties lacked comprehensive records to show how the distribution was done, an indication that the food may have been diverted.

The report further reveals that the distribution of the relief food is undertaken by the State Department of Interior that makes no report of the quantities received and those distributed to the State Department of Special Programmes.

Mr Ouko blames the State Department of Special Programmes for no ensuring smooth logistics for the transportation and delivery of the relief foodstuff.

The report to be considered by the House Committee on Public Accounts (PAC), also noted that there was no accountability for Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE)s sent to the County Commissioners for transport as evidenced in the counties which could not fully account for the 1.7 million AIEs sent to them.

Although the department had no vehicles at the sub-counties, the AIEs disbursed to the sub-counties were being used for the motor vehicle repairs.

PENDING BILLS

The accumulation of Sh112 million in pending bills, despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s June 1, directive that all government agencies clear pending bills with no audit queries, has also been faulted.

“The failure to settle the pending bills during the year to which they related, distorted the financial statements for the year and adversely affected the provisions of the subsequent year to which they had been charged,” the report says.

The status of the completion of Wajir sewerage project is another bloat in the examination of the State Department’s books of account.

The report notes that completion of the project remains in doubt as it had been abandoned in 2013 despite the contractor having already been paid Sh32.18 million.