Auditor General unearths Ksh.35B pending bills scam
Tax payers risk losing up to Ksh.35 billion should the 47 county governments honour all the listed pending bills, in compliance with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Madaraka Day directive.
A pending bills verification done by the Auditor General, has revealed that county debts in excess of Ksh.35 billion were either fake or do not meet threshold for payment.
The 47 county governments owe suppliers up to Ksh.108 billion, the highest amount of pending bills in the 6 years of devolved governance.
Governors are now racing against time to beat a Presidential deadline of settling all pending bills, 10 days before the end of 2018/2019 financial year.
Questions on whether there was sufficient funds and time implement this directive notwithstanding, there are critical integrity and accounting queries raised by Auditor General Edward Ouko.
Nairobi leads in the infamous list of counties with questionable pending bills, which could be a conduit for grand theft of public resources.
The Auditor General okaying payment of bills amounting to Ksh.1.7B but rejected the settling of Ksh.11B bills.
Turkana County which is the second largest recipient of devolved funds since 2013 has contentious pending bills of up to Ksh.3.8B. The Auditor General okaying clearance of bills worth Ksh.1.8B.
By February this year, Kiambu County presented Ksh.3.3B as pending bills but upon scrutiny Ksh.1.4B worth of pending bills have been flagged as fake.
The Auditor General’s report meaning Governor Ferdinand Waititu is only authorized to clear bills worth Ksh.1.8B.
In Kisumu County, accrued pending bills have hit the Ksh.2.4B mark, but bills worth Ksh.683M have been declared ineligible by the Auditor General.
Mombasa’s Ali Hassan Joho presented to the auditors pending bills worth Ksh.5.3B but Ouko’s probe report has question marks on bills worth Ksh.1.8B.
First term governors have repeatedly heaped blame on their predecessors, accusing them of dishing out contracts at the tail end of their tenure, leaving the incoming county executives with swollen pending bills.
In Nakuru, only Ksh.420M has been cleared for payment with a staggering Ksh.2B worth of pending bills undergoing further scrutiny.
In West Pokot Governor Prof. John Lonyangapuo, is staring at pending bills worth Ksh.1.7B with the auditors clearing only Ksh.483M.
Homa Bay County has only been cleared Ksh.40M worth of pending bills, leaving pending Ksh.1.6B that did not satisfy the verification process.
Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee (PAIC) chair Moses Kajwang, says the committee has scheduled a meeting with the Auditor General next week to shed more light on the verification of pending bills, before tabling a detailed report in the August House.
Kajwang says blind payment of the pending bills would rob the country billions and wants fake pending bills claimants to be prosecuted if found to have supplied air with the sole aim of defrauding the taxpayers billions of shillings.