Things seem far from rosy at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) after it emerged that its revenue collection for the 2017/18 financial year fell by Sh713.4 million. The details of the sorry state of the financial affairs of the country’s premier events’ facility are contained in the May 21, 2019, report by Auditor-General Edward Ouko, currently before the National Assembly’s Public Investment Committee (PIC).
The report says that KICC collected a paltry Sh620.8 million in the 2017/18, less than half (46.5 percent) the amount projected, compared with the budgeted Sh1.33 billion.
“The huge shortfall of revenue was not explained,” the report says, noting that the centre collected Sh1.31 billion in the 2016/17 financial year.
It further stated that Sh696.79 million is recorded as long outstanding debts in unpaid rents and parking fees, among others. Most of the money is owed by government ministries and departments.
For instance, the National Assembly owes Sh47.3 million. Another Sh60.6 million is owed by defunct government ministries, and Sh5.4 million by former staff.
“An inquiry and comparison with financial statements of the reported debtors showed that the said debts were not recognised as payables or pending bills in those institutions,” the report says.
Already the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has launched investigations into allegations of financial impropriety running into hundreds of millions of shillings at the centre after complaints were filed in March this year.
Similar complaints have also been filed with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), though the three agencies could not explain why they have not concluded the matter when they appeared before a parliamentary committee.
Among the issues that have put the country’s landmark building, on the spot, are the award of tenders and payment of questionable allowances.
For instance, KICC hosted two American R&B groups — SWV and Black Street — in 2017, through a contract with Nimu Premier Events Limited, ostensibly to showcase the centre as an events location in Kenya and the region.
The minutes of the board meeting on August 4, 2016, show that the management convinced its members, then led by former Mugirango South MP Omingo Magara, to allow the expenditure of Sh15 million on the concert. But somehow the management ended up paying Sh10 million above the allocated budget.
The auditor's report shows that there was no revenue generated from the concert, meaning taxpayers’ money spent on it went down the drain.