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January 24, 2019

Counties wasted Sh18.8 billion on faulty revenue systems - senators

ICT PS Jerome Ochieng during the Africa Cyber Security conference in Nairobi on July 9,2018.
Photo/Enos Teche.
ICT PS Jerome Ochieng during the Africa Cyber Security conference in Nairobi on July 9,2018. Photo/Enos Teche.

County governments spent Sh18.8 billion to buy fake electronic revenue collection systems despite being offered free systems by the national government.

The revelation was made by the Senate committee on Information and Technology which said the systems have already failed.

Speaking in Embu on Tuesday, the committee wondered why the counties opted to but the systems yet the ministry of ICT was providing similar systems for free.

Committee members said counties have since reverted to manual collection of revenue. They said the funds are spent at the collection points and do not end up in the respective county accounts.

The committee was in Embu to meet representatives of the county on the status of distribution of information and communication technology.

The team was led by committee vice chairman Halakhe Abshiro.

Kitui senator Enoch Wambua said they will develop a policy to end persistent mismanagement of funds at in the counties. He said governors were procuring of non-functional systems to create avenues for looting.

"It is only through such a bill that a standard can be set for the counties to spend specific cash on such programs for proper management of public funds," Wambua said.

The committee promised to fast-track audit of technologies being used in the counties to ensure residents benefit.

"We want to find out why ICT infrastructure has not reached certain parts of the country," Abshiro said.

ICT Principal Secretary Jerome Ochieng said engagement with senate and MCAs will yield desired changes to enable ICT be rolled out to all sub-counties.

Ochieng said the County Revenue Management System will be installed. "The system will ensure prudent collection of revenue at the county and subcounty level and accountability for resources through technology," the PS said.

The senators said they will sensitise MCAs and engage county leaders before the bill to regulate use of ICT in the counties is tabled in the House.

Abshiro said ICT is crucial in the realisation of the government's Big Four agenda. "It can only be achieved if the MCAs are involved," he said.

West Pokot senator Samuel Poghisio said ICT was the way to go and asked counties to come to that realisation.

"They should start putting in place systems that will enable them achieve development as fast as possible," Poghisio said.

He said senators will ensure ICT was rolled countrywide as envisaged in the Vision 2030 blueprint.




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