ACCOUNTABILITY

Homa Bay unable to account for Sh389m, audit shows

Report says 'leakages' stem from staff payroll and big tenders

In Summary
  • The report reveals that the Homa Bay ignored the recommended IPPD system and went ahead to pay Sh238.5 million salaries to employees manually.
  • Also suspicious in the county's books of accounts is the Sh4.3 million rent arrears that the auditor is questioning their recoverability.
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu on December 6, 2021.
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu on December 6, 2021.
Image: FILE

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has flagged Sh389 million suspicious spending in Homa Bay.

In her 2020-21 audit report, the auditor said the county is unable to provide documentary evidence how the millions of taxpayers’ money was spent by Governor Cyprian Awiti’s administration.

Major avenues identified for the multi-million 'leakages' — according to the report —range from staff payroll to big tenders that are executed on paper but with nothing to show on the ground.

For instance, the report reveals that the county ignored the recommended Integrated Payroll and Personnel Database and went ahead to pay Sh238.5 million salaries to employees manually.

During the year, Homa Bay county had a Sh2.9 billion budget for paying salaries to its employees, the bigger chunk was however paid through IPPD with only Sh238.5 million processed manually.

The government has insisted on having salaries paid through the integrated system to ensure all statutory deductions are effected, something that is not possible with manual payment.

Civil servants are usually deducted a number of mandatory subscriptions, including NSSF, NHIF, PAYE and union dues if the employees are unionisable.

“The manual system requires manual calculation of deductions and net pay by the human resource officers and regular monthly and /or annual updates which are prone to human error,” the audit reads.

“In the circumstances, the accuracy, validity and completeness of the expenditure of Sh238,500,097 in respect of compensation of employees processed manually in the year under review could not be confirmed.”

The county further spent Sh63 million monies from development and recurrent accounts at Central Bank of Kenya to pay for development projects and employees at the departmental levels outside the Integrated Financial Management Information System.

The report, which was tabled last week by Senate Majority leader Samuel Poghisio, further doubted payment of Sh81.6 million for roads construction that were not supported by any tender documents.

The county is said to have spent the millions in construction of 13 major roads, access roads and bridges.

However, Awiti’s administration was unable to show the audit team the tender documents, including tender evaluation reports and certificates of professional opinions.

The report also questioned how the county incurred Sh3 million for survey of mineral sites, a project that was not backed by any records on the outcome of the exercise.

“Review of available records revealed that the consultant had been paid fully whereas a final report indicating the mineral quantities in the database had not yet been submitted to the county government.”

The survey was to be conducted in the eight constituencies in the county.

Also suspicious in Homa Bay books of accounts is the Sh4.3 million rent arrears that the auditor is questioning their recoverability.

This is in regards to debts owed by employees occupying the county government houses and who have not been paying rents some dating back to 2013-14 financial years.

According to Gathungu, the county failed to disclose the the arrears in its financial statements.

“No plausible explanation was provided for failure to recover the debts from the employees' monthly salaries,” she said.

 

(edited by Amol Awuor)

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