SUSPECTED CASH LOSS

Ouko queries Sh2.3bn at Woman Reps' fund

No cash books, bank statements or balance certificates provided

In Summary

Fear money may have been spent on irregular deals at National Government Affirmative Action Fund 

Auditor General Edward Ouko
QUESTIONS: Auditor General Edward Ouko
Image: FILE

Woman Representatives are on the spot after an audit found massive irregularities in the fund they manage.

There are fears that taxpayers may have lost Sh2.3 billion disbursed to the National Government Affirmative Action Fund. A total of Sh8.3 billion has been disbursed so far.

In his financial year ending June 2018 report, Auditor General Edward Ouko  paints a gloomy picture of the ongoings at the kitty. 

This defeats the efforts woman MPs put in agitating for development funds similar to the National Government Constituency Development Fund.

Ouko flags inaccuracies in the transfer of Sh1.4 billion disbursed to county committees that administer the fund.

The report states that no evidence was provided to show that the county committees submitted records of the amounts received, expenditures and bank statements.

“The expenditure returns from the county committees showed a total expenditure of Sh1.1 billion against the disbursed Sh1.4 billion. The balance of Sh288 million has not been explained,” Ouko stated. “Based on the foregoing, the accuracy and propriety of the transfers could not be confirmed.”

The auditor general also flagged an unexplained Sh708 million arising from undeclared bank balances, unpresented cheques – some stale - and unspent balances.

“Information available for audit showed that 36 out of 47 counties committees had unspent balances totalling Sh353 million which was not included in the financial statements. No cash books, bank statements or bank balance certificates were provided to support the balances,” Ouko said.

Eleven county committees did not present cash books, bank statements, bank certificates or any record to back the balances.

“In view of the foregoing, the completeness, accuracy, validity and existence of Sh708 million cash and cash equivalents could not be confirmed.”

The auditor general has also queried the payment of Sh1.8 million in imprests and sitting allowances to board members on routine monitoring and evaluation in the counties.

“The payment was, however, not supported by board minutes and approvals as required by law. No field reports were provided for review. No minutes were provided to show that the field reports were ever presented, discussed, and filed,” Ouko said.

Board members are Florence Murgor, Wanjiru Kabira, Juliet Kola, Joseph Mutuma, Ahmed Diis Mohamed, Emily Opati and Titus Lotee (CEO, secretary).

Also under scrutiny is Sh45 million paid under the staff costs and a further Sh63 million in gratuity for secretariat staff.

NGAAF has also been found to be in violation of the law requiring that it reserves two per cent of the fund allocation for emergencies.

“Although the fund has received Sh8.3 billion since its inception and as such should have Sh166.2 million, no reserves are reflected in the financial statements,” the report reads in part.

Ouko is concerned that the former board chairperson has outstanding imprests amounting to Sh605 million.

No effort has been made to recover the outstanding amount.

“Consequently, the cash and cash equivalents balance was understated and the recoverability or accountability of Sh7.9 million imprests could not be ascertained,” Ouko said.

The fund is also on the spot for failing to respond to audit matters raised with respect to its accounts for the financial year 2016/17.

An adjustment of Sh7 million processed against the expenditure of transfer to county committees could not be ascertained.

During the period under review, the auditor also flagged a loss of Sh17.4 million in Bungoma following the theft of 36 canvas tents and 1,200 water tanks.

The items were stolen from the NGAAF office in Bungoma on September 1, 2017. But the theft was not reported to the relevant authorities and the items are yet to be recovered.

Kisumu and Uasin Gishu reported unaccounted Sh5.2 million and Sh800,000 respectively said to have been for the procurement of goods using temporary imprests.

Ouko questioned Sh2.9 million said to have been expended on direct procurement of goods and services in Bungoma (purchase of Kuroiler chicks) and Embu (purchase of blankets and chairs).

“The management did not explain why the items were single-sourced. Further, no evidence was provided to show that direct procurement was reported to the regulatory authority as required by law,” the report reads.

Uasin Gishu county also gave two groups Sh900,000 without seeking the board’s approval.

NGAAF supports women, youth and persons living with disabilities, provision of bursary to needy children, civic education, establishment of gender-based violence rescue centres, talent development and emergency response.