• The projects included the Machakos New city project, commercial development centre and the construction of a 15-storey building.
More than Sh350 million was spent on stalled projects in Machakos county according to the latest report by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu.
The audit report says Machakos residents could be losing millions of shillings in shoddy projects, questionable payments and grounded vehicles, some of which are only three years old.
The queries are contained in the 2018-19 audit report tabled in the Senate last week.
It shows the county executive paid out Sh356.40 million for projects which have stalled. They include the Machakos New City project, the development of a commercial centre and the construction of a 15-storey building.
Governor Alfred Mutua’s administration awarded seven contracts worth Sh1.3 billion on diverse dates between April and October 2019 for the construction of the Machakos New City project.
The project included the construction of seven buildings comprising three office blocks and four commercial ones with recreational centres. As of June 30, 2019, the county had paid Sh311.72 million.
However, physical verification of the project sites in November 2019 showed none of the buildings had been completed yet the respective project periods having elapsed.
“In view of the delays, the benefits envisaged from the project have not been realised. Further, the delays are likely to raise the costs of the projects due to inflationary or other issues,” the report says.
The construction of the building between 12 and 15 floors at a cost of Sh394.99 million stalled despite the county having paid Sh39.14 million.
“The funds invested in the project are at risk of loss due to the delay in its completion. The management did not provide any plausible explanation why the project stalled.”
The auditor said the construction of the commercial development centre at Sh55.49 million has stopped, although the county had already paid Sh5.54 million.
Gathungu also flagged substandard works by contractors hired by the county to undertake projects.
The report cited the installation of an all-weather running track at Machakos Stadium. The contract was awarded for Sh37.94 million in 2017-18. As of June 30, 2019, the county had paid Sh25 million or 66 per cent of the contract sum. However, an audit inspection showed about a third of the track has worn out.
“Consequently, unless corrections are made, value for money will not be obtained on expenditure totalling Sh37.94 million,” the report says.
The audit shows 17 vehicles attached to different departments were grounded. Some of the vehicles were less than three years old.
Gathungu also flagged irregular payment of legal fees by the county government. The county made an advance payment of Sh1.1 million to a law firm for the development of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Bill. The total contract was Sh4.64 million.
The county made the payments ahead of the signing of the formal contract. There was no legal authority for such payment.
The report also shows that the county government owes suppliers Sh1.94 billion, with some of the pending bills incurred in 2013-14.
The Machakos administration was also found to be spending 39 per cent of its budget on payment of salaries and wages. This is contrary to the law that caps the figure at 35 per cent.
Edited by P.O