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Kenya: County assemblies on the spot over massive wastage of funds

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by November 28, 2016 General

By Alex Kiprotich and Steve Mkawale
Updated Tue, November 29th 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3

MCA’s in the Nyeri assembly chambers

An audit has revealed massive irregularities and abuse of power in county assemblies’ spending for the year 2014/2015.

The report on expenditure review for county assemblies came a week after the Office of the Auditor General published another damning report that exposed the rot in county executives that The Standard published last week.

In Baringo, Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) redirected employees hired for county institutions to their private businesses without approval of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

According to the report, 60 county workers hired as drivers and secretaries for each ward in the county were redeployed to serve personal interests of the MCAs.

Auditor General Edward Ouko says in his report that the MCAs conferred themselves an illegal benefit that cost the taxpayer Sh7,293,000 in form of salaries for the employees.

“Audit verification revealed that the drivers were assigned to MCAs as private chauffeurs, thereby conferring an illegal benefit without the approval of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC),” reads the report.

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In Nakuru County, MCAs spent millions of shillings on sightseeing trips abroad disguised as training trips.

The auditor report reveals that trips by MCAs to India, Singapore and Houston, Texas between May and October 2015 and which cost the taxpayer about Sh10m did not benefit the public.

Although the MCAs went to Singapore for training on infrastructure and urban development between August 26  and 30, 2015, a report filed by the county assembly showed the delegation was in the country for sightseeing.

“A course outline for the training indicated that from day 1 to day 5, the participants would learn about principles and techniques to manage projects, develop project management plans, risk management and procurement management. However, a report prepared by the county assembly revealed that the delegation was in Singapore on a sightseeing tour of a water reclamation centre,” reads the report.

The 16 MCAs who went on the trip claimed per diem allowances totalling Sh4,449,016.

In October, 14 MCAs went to Jaipur, India, on a training trip. The theme of the training that gobbled up Sh2,088,504 was the place of the cottage industries in regional governments. The MCAs however, according to the auditor, went on a sightseeing tour of a poultry farm.

The Auditor General also raised questions on recurrent and development expenditures for Samburu, Kajiado, Narok, Baringo, Kericho, Nyandarua and Nakuru county assemblies –amounting to millions of shillings.

UNSECURED LOANS

In Samburu County, some Sh126 million issued as mortgage and car loans to MCAs and members of staff without following laid-down regulations could be lost.

The report revealed an accounting officer at the assembly authorised issuance of a total of Sh54 million to 27 ward representative as car loans without following the regulations.

Each of the MCAs applied and were given Sh2 million to buy a vehicle, but failed to the surrender log books to the clerk of the county assembly.

Ouko further queried the issuance of Sh72 million loan to 24 assembly staff without collateral and written authority for their terminal dues to be used to offset any outstanding debts in the event they vacate office before they repay their loans. Each of the staff members received Sh3 million.

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