VALUE FOR MONEY?

Baringo operates 192 irregular bank accounts — Auditor General

Gathungu flags possible misuse of Sh2.1bn, underabsorption of Sh2.5 bn, shoddy projects, unclear records

In Summary

• Closing balances held in the accounts were not incorporated in the financial statements by the county government.

• When the auditors sought to oonfirm the balances in the accounts, the banks did not respond.

Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis.
BARINGO BOSS: Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Baringo county has been faulted for irregularly operating more than 192 bank accounts, possibly leading to misuse of Sh2.1 billion in 2018-19.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu criticised Governor Stanley Kiptis' administration for running the commercial accounts, some of them used to disburse funds to hospitals.

The information is contained in the Auditor General's latest reports on the counties.

The auditor said the closing balances in the accounts were not incorporated into the financial statements by the county.

When the auditors sought to confirm the balances in the accounts, the banks did not respond to their letters.

“In the absence of sufficient and reliable information, the accuracy of the cash and the cash equivalents balance totalling to Sh2.1 billion reflected in the statements of assets and liabilities as at June 30, 2019, was not confirmed," the auditor said.

She said aggregate bank balances included Sh128.3 million held in 44 bank accounts operated contrary to regulations of the Public Finance Management Act.

“The regulations require that all bank accounts of county governments, other than imprest accounts, to be operated at the Central Bank of Kenya," the audit report read.

The auditor also questioned excess transfer of cash to the Baringo county assembly during the year under review.

Gathungu said more than Sh628.5 million was transferred to the assembly, exceeding the legal threshold of seven per cent of county revenue. The maximum transferable amount to the assembly was Sh536 million.

The auditor said the assembly was overpaid by Sh92 million.

The report also flagged unsatisfactory implementation of projects. An analysis of projects indicated 26 had been completed but only seven of them had been put to use.

“Therefore the residents of Baringo have not received any value from funds amounting to Sh79.9 million invested in the completed projects, which have not been put into use," the report read.

Analysis of 12 other projects worth Sh71 million indicated they had problems including poor workmanship and location on private land.

Residents may not get value for money invested in the projects, the auditor said.

During the year under review, the county had a total budget of Sh8.1 billion but used Sh5.5 billion, resulting in under absorption of Sh2.5 billion — which was 32 per cent of the budget.

The county also was faulted for lack of proper disclosure of assets inherited from the old local authorities, including the county councils of Baringo, Koibatek and the Kabarnet municipal council.

The auditor said the assets balance of Sh2.5 billion reflected in the county financial statements was not confirmed due to lack of clear records.

“The completeness and accuracy of cumulative assets balance of Sh2.5 billion reflected in the assets register can not be confirmed," the Auditor General said.

(Edited by V. Graham)