•The Auditor-General said only Sh3.5 billion, out of the total Sh5.3 billion was eligible.
•Joho said the huge amount of pending bills is made up of the pension fund and bills inherited from the defunct Mombasa municipal council.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho was on Friday asked to explain huge pending bills and why some amounts of money collected by the county government was being spent at the source.
In the 2017-2018 Financial Year, according to the Auditor General, Joho’s administration has Sh3.7 billion as total pending bills, but Mombasa County government submitted a figure of Sh5.3 billion.
The Auditor General said only Sh3.5 billion, out of the total Sh5.3 billion was eligible.
The Senate Public Account and Investment Committee, which grilled Joho for about three hours at the Mombasa County Assembly building, questioned Joho over the Sh1.8 billion in excess.
“Can you explain the Sh1.8 billion,” Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang, who is also the chair of the Senate PAIC said during the grilling.
Joho said the huge amount of pending bills is made up of the pension fund and bills inherited from the defunct Mombasa municipal council.
“Theirs is a lot of confusion on what is supposed to be done. You will find out that a bigger chunk of that money is pension fund and those inherited from the defunct council. As county government, should we pay or not pay?” Posed Joho.
However, he added that they submitted a figure of Sh4 billion to the Auditor General as pending bills, but the amount rose to Sh5.3 billion after suppliers brought in their documents demanding to be paid.
“The national government asked suppliers to bring in their evidence. Therefore, we presented to the auditor general all the claims and the supporting documents, but we did not approve the Sh5.3 billion pending bills,” he said.
At the same time, Joho was at pains to explain why over Sh654 million for the year 2017-2018 was not transferred to the County Revenue Accounts (CRA).
According to the Auditor General, the Mombasa County government collected a total of Sh3.1 billion for the 2017-2018 financial year, but only Sh2.5 billion was remitted to the CRA.
The Mombasa County government, in its response to the Auditor General, said Sh605 million was the money spent at source, Sh49 million was the service charges, Sh74,000 was the bank charges, and Sh7 million was the amount collected at different health facilities.
“This is obviously an illegality. Why would money be spent at source without being swept into the County Revenue Accounts?” posed Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi.
Wamatangi said during a previous meeting with Joho, they had raised an issue of money being spent at the source, but the governor was still repeating the mistake.
“That was in the year 2017-2018. We took your advice and have started implementing some of the recommendations in the 2018-2019 fiscal year,” said Joho.
The senators also raised an issue with Joho’s county head of Treasury Ayub Buhiri after it emerged that he was not a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accounts as required by the law.
Buhiri was asked to leave to collect his ICPAK membership card, but did not return after the three-hour grilling.
“We would want a written explanation from the County Head of Treasury,” said Kajwang.
Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga also raised an issue of why the Mombasa Finance Department was the second-biggest beneficiary in the county budgetary allocation with an excess of Sh900 million.
“Why is the finance department being allocated a huge amount as a development fund. What kind of development is there in the finance department,” said Omanga.
Joho said the “development fund” in the finance department was meant to pay for the pending bills and finish up projects that have not been completed.
However, senators were not pleased with the answers.
“If the pending bills are in Transport or Health department. Why is the money not allocated to those department? Why is it allocated to the finance department,” posed Omanga.
The senators will continue to grill Joho on October 4.