Audit reveals millions in county revenue lost
Governors from the western Kenya region are on the spot for misuse of public funds.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) have been told to explain revenue losses in their domains amounting to millions of shillings.
According to the Audit General’s report for the financial year 2016/2017, Vihiga County cannot explain expenditure amounting to Sh213, 602,705 on employee compensation.
According to Auditor General Edward Ouko, the county had budgeted only Sh1, 475,914,100 for that purpose.
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The audit indicates that Sh1,437,835 that was dispensed to 11 county officials as salary advance had not been recovered from them as of June 30, 2017, when the financial year came to a close.
This is contrary to the provisions of the county human resource policy guidelines.
“Management did not explain why the recoveries were not made,” the report read.
The employees who received the advances included Caleb Amaswache, Joyce Wangoi Gallo, Hanjira Wabwire Ali, and Silvia Vihenda, who pocketed between Sh360,000 and Sh10,000.
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Questions have also arisen over irregular recruitment of staff. Governor Ottichilo blamed his predecessor, Moses Akaranga, for the anomalies.
“It is my predecessor who should be held responsible for the misuse of the funds because all that happened during his tenure.”
In Bungoma, the county government leased an office block, but it was not used the whole of the year under review.
The audit said a local contractor was paid Sh116 million for the lease of the five-storey building.
The report stated that the county paid the full amount for a five-year lease but only one floor was being utilised when auditors inspected the premises.
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Also Sh202 million was paid to 400 casual workers hired on a one-year contract, but there was no evidence of a recruitment process for the positions.
In Busia County, Mr Ouko questioned the circumstances under which Governor Ojaamong paid an agency Sh10 million for a facelift of the county referral hospital.
Ouko indicated that the money was paid to an agency to supply digital health equipment that were never delivered. According to the report, the Department of Health and Sanitation paid a local clearing and forwarding firm to deliver the equipment from Mombasa port to Amukura Health Centre.
When auditors visited the centre, they found that the equipment had yet to be delivered, but the firm had been paid in full. In Kakamega, Mr Oparanya set aside Sh66 million for the construction of the governor’s residence under questionable circumstances.
The title deed to the land where the house was to be put up could not be proved to be in the hands of the county administration.
Oparanya has been vocal about the need for a proper governor’s residence.