Sh710 million debt claimed by Laikipia suppliers and contractors is fake, Governor Ndiritu Muriithi said yesterday.
He told the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee that the county’s genuine debt is Sh490 million — not Sh1.2 billion demanded by the suppliers
Muriithi told the team chaired by Homa Bay senator Moses Kajwang’ that an audit of pending bills showed that most of the claims lacked crucial documents.
“After the end of a verification exercise of the pending bills, we established that claims amounting to Sh710 million was doubtful. There was a major variance in what was allegedly delivered and what was billed,” he said.
“We established during the verification that the county billed a total of Sh23.8 million for non-existent projects and supplies. This meant the county was basically billed for supply of air.”
The county boss was summoned to respond to queries raised by Auditor General Edward Ouko in his 2014-15 report.
The county carried out physical verification. Muriithi said his administration has invited the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate those involved in approving fictitious claims that were meant to fleece residents.
“The directorate will identify and compile a list of all assets the county has and even tag and mark them. This will be the only way to know what we have,” he said.
Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo, in her 2016-17 report, totalled non-paid bills in the counties at Sh99 billion.
The devolved units have blamed the National Treasury’s late disbursement of funds for their rising debts — a position
Odhiambo has disputed.