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How counties spent billions on State projects

Tuesday May 7 2019

Kiambu EXPENDITURE

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu responds to audit questions posed by Senate's Public Accounts and Investment Committee on May 2, 2019. The county government spent Sh2.1 billion on national government functions. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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GRACE GITAU
By GRACE GITAU
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County governments Monday accused the National Treasury of generating erroneous documents that misrepresent their spending, as four more cases of “bizarre” allocations and spending came to light.

The Auditor General’s report has exposed Kakamega, Kitui, Nyeri and Kirinyaga counties for spending hundreds of millions of shillings on functions over which they lack jurisdiction.

ERRONEOUS

Kakamega paid Sh115.6 million towards Kenya-South Sudan advisory services, while in Kitui, more than Sh120 million went to East Africa regional affairs.

In Nyeri, Sh138 million was spent on railway development, Sh213 million on Government Chemist and Sh1.9 million on Free Primary Education; while in Laikipia, Sh344 million was spent on statistical information services.

The four counties join Kiambu, whose governor Ferdinand Waititu was last week put on the spot by the Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee (CPAIC) over the Sh2.1 billion audit query that includes questionable payments for functions performed by the national government.

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Nyeri’s Finance and Economic Planning Minister Robert Thuo said the reports generated from the Integrated Financial and Management System (IFMIS) were erroneous. 

“The county did not spend money on those items because they were never in the approved county budget. The documents in the audit report are IFMIS generated vote books which are a product of the universal programme used by National Treasury,” he said.

Mr Thuo further noted that the county would not incur any cost without approval by the MCAs and the Controller of Budget.

“Our financial statements do not show such expenditures. We only have access to these IFMIS generated documents at the close of the financial year,” he said. 

IFMIS-GENERATED

According to Mr Thuo, the errors occurred when the county budget approved by the county assembly was uploaded in IFMIS Hyperion module which is used by the national government.

Laikipia County executive in charge of Finance Murungi Ndai said the county had not spent Sh344 million on statistical informal services as indicated in the audit report.

According to the report of Auditor General Edward Ouko for the 2017/18 financial year, Kiambu County made payments for co-ordination of State House functions, South Sudan Peace process, free primary education and a fund for retired presidents, among others. The functions are a preserve of the national government.

In its report, Kakamega County allocated Sh173.6 million for Kenya-South Sudan advisory services, of which Sh115.6 million has since been paid; Sh75 million for co-ordination of State House functions, of which Sh29.3 million has been paid.

The county’s head of communication attributed the bizarre vote heads to “anomalies generated by the system during preparation of the budget”, adding that the governor, Mr Wycliffe Oparanya, would issue a comprehensive statement on the matter today.

Departments and Agencies was allocated Sh41.3 million, economic policy, national planning Sh14 million, and national statistical information services Sh190.5 million.

Management of Kenyan missions abroad was allocated Sh9.7 million with Sh9.03 already paid, meteorological services Sh185.6 million, mining policy development Sh68.6 million, Coastline infrastructure Sh144 million.

ADVISORY SERVICES

Rail transport had a vote of Sh159 million with Sh128.1 million already paid, secondary education Sh21.1 million, curriculum development Sh61.4 million, examination and certification Sh98.5 million and university education Sh88.5 million.

In Kitui, Sh77.6 million was allocated for East Africa Affairs and regional integration that has Sh63.7 million already paid, East Africa customs union Sh25.5 million, Sh23 million already paid, East Africa Community monetary union Sh52.1 million with Sh40 million paid.

No money was allocated for community development, which falls under the county governments. Rail transport has Sh44.7 million with Sh43.2 million already paid, Free Primary Education Sh83.4 million and secondary education Sh435.1 million.

Interestingly, nothing was allocated for Early Childhood Development Education despite the function being a preserve of the counties.

State corporations advisory services was allocated Sh30.3 million, census and surveys Sh55.3 million with zero allocation to social development and children services

Mining policy development another function of the national government was allocated Sh5.4 million.

ZERO ALLOCATION

Laikipia County had economic policy and national planning allocated Sh63.12 million out of which Sh54.6 million has already been paid.

Nyeri has Sh182.7 million for rail transport, a function of the national government with Sh138.3 million already paid but zero allocation on health promotion, a fully devolved function.

Government Chemist has Sh223.8 million with Sh213.6 million already paid, primary education Sh266.4 million, Sh213.6 million already paid, free primary education Sh2.1 million that has seen Sh1.2 million paid to date.

However, the Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo said the items including those of Kiambu, were not in the budget plans that she approved for the county governments.

“The budget allocations were not captured in the 2017/18 budget that was submitted to the Controller of Budget by Kiambu County,” Ms Odhiambo, through her office’s communications head Stephen Wangaji, said in respect of Kiambu County.

She also noted that the items did not feature in the county’s 2017/18 Supplementary Budget: “The items also did not appear in their Quarterly Expenditure Reports submitted for that period. We would, therefore, like to state that the Controller of Budget is not aware of these items.”