Bungoma MCAs given Sh1.1m to attend Uhuru’s function in county

Bungoma MCAs illegally received Sh1.1 million two-day allowances to attend President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit in the county, audit report reveals.

Auditor General Edward Ouko’s damming reports on 47 County Assemblies spending for the year ended June 30, 2016 state that the MCAs received the allowances during Uhuru’s tour on November 14, 2015.

“There was no justification for the payment of Sh1, 100, 400 to facilitate the MCAs to attend a presidential function held in the county. The county assembly breached regulations governing payment of allowances,” Ouko says.

The Bungoma County Assembly head by former Speaker John Makali is also on the spotlight for unlawfully splashing Sh5.9 million in allowances to its staff, the public and MCAs for participating in public functions.

Ouko says the Sh5, 880, 000 allowances violated the Salaries and Remuneration Commission regulations prohibiting such kind of payments from public coffers.

The SRC mid this year abolished sitting and mileage allowances for public servants in the government’s attempt to cut the ballooning wage bill.

The audit report for the 2015-16 financial year implicates Kitui MCAs spending Sh30.3 million on travels and accommodation in Mombasa, Nairobi, Thika, Mwingi and Konza Techno City in Malili.

Although the MCAs were discharging their official duties from the trips, the auditor reiterates that payment vouchers lacked supporting documents such as bus tickets, work tickets or air tickets.

“Under the circumstances, the propriety of Sh30, 295, 800 expenditure could not be confirmed,” Ouko says.

The MCAs are also on the spot for Sh42.4 million in sitting allowances some pocketed irregularly by members receiving double payments for attending the assembly plenary and committee sittings yet they had travelled abroad.

“Members who had gone on foreign trips were at the same time paid for both plenary and committee sitting allowances locally. The three members were the same members who had gone to Israel for bench-marking programme during the same period,” Ouko says.

The auditor reveals that the scrutiny of the attendance registers showed they were signed in advance to accommodate members who were on foreign trips.

The report discloses that weekly set limit of four committee sitting allowances was not observed since 52 members were paid Sh1.1 million in excess of the set limit.

“Invited members to sectoral committees were paid sitting allowances totalling Sh1.57 million for 403 sittings. However, no authority was made available in support of the payments,” the auditor says.

Senate through its Public Accounts Committee, yet to be formed, will summon the county assembly leadership and county executives for grilling over management of public funds.

The auditor general questions Embu MCAs and county assembly staff Sh7.67 million spending on foreign trips to Arusha, Tanzania and China to attend various courses irrelevant to their oversight work.

Courses the MCAs and assembly staff attended were Advance Financial Management, Organizational Change Management, Integrated Human Resource System and Integrated Financial Management System.

They attended the courses at Eastern and South African Management Institute and the auditor questions whether the Assembly got value for the money.

The auditor raises questions on Sh4.8 million 29 Kisumu MCAs spending on foreign travel to Kampala, Uganda of Sh10 million set aside for a Ward Development Fund meeting.

“No eveidence was provided to show that the 29 members travelled to Uganda. There was no after trip report availed for audit review or tabled in the county assembly as the Standing Orders require,” Ouko says.

He adds that the MCAs did not also provide any document to prove expenditures they incurred in Uganda.

The auditor question whether Elgeyo Marakwet MCAs held a training that cost taxpayers Sh2.77 million on travelling but no proof such as list of attendants, invitation letters and evidence of travel by officers were provided for audit.

 

Courtesy Samuel Kisika