Counties misused Ksh.13.8B COVID-19 funds: report
With the health function almost fully devolved, counties became a natural ally of the National Government in the fight against COVID-19 as the pandemic hit the country early last year.
Billions were pumped into the devolved units to boost the fight, but now the Auditor General says the money may have fallen into the wrong hands.
The latest report has flagged the wanton disregard of the law or cutting corners to evade procurement procedures in purchasing COVID-19 items. T
The auditor general has listed 33 counties that engaged in buying of COVID-19 items in the absence of procurement plans—the counties include Bomet, Bungoma, Elgeyo Marakwet, Embu, Garissa, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Kakamega, Kericho and Kirinyaga.
Others are Kwale, Machakos, Mandera, Migori and Mombasa.
Without procurement plans the counties shopped from any available supplier and without having done any market survey for the goods being purchased.
The report flags the risk of buying overpriced items with the counties of Embu, Homa Bay, Isiolo and Murang’a found guilty of engaging non-prequalified suppliers.
Meanwhile, the county governments of Kakamega, Busia, Isiolo, Marsabit and Meru went to the market blindly without having conducted no market survey for COVID-19 items.
Bomet, Kisii and Meru counties have been indicted for irregularly splitting procurement contracts to give a chance to companies and suppliers aligned with the political administration.
Bungoma and Kitui counties on the other hand have been identified for blatantly misappropriating funds for the Kenya Devolution Support Program kitty.
12 county administrations including Baringo, Busia, Homa Bay, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Meru, Migori, Muranga and Narok are accused of dishing out contracts in absence of competitive bidding.
Other culprits in this category are Nyandarua and Trans Nzoia counties
The report also noted that some counties contracted suppliers without valid contracts to deliver COVID-19 items.
Those fingered in these irregularities include Kajiado, Kirinyaga, Laikipia and Tharaka Nithi counties.
In the financial year under review, the National Treasury advanced Ksh.7.1 billion to the counties as conditional grants from the Danish Agency Danida and allowances for frontline workers.
They also had at their disposal a total of Ksh.5.2 billion in from local revenue sources within the counties as well as a Ksh.849 million shilling kitty under the Kenya Devolution Support Programme from the world bank.
The National Assembly’s Health Committee has now summoned the respective county health executives to answer queries raised by the auditor general starting April 19.