SUSPEND SENATE GRILLING

Puzzled governors tell Treasury to explain budget mess

Council of Governors says items captured not in their approved budgets

In Summary

•Bizarre' spending in financial statement still a mystery to governors

•Accusing fingers pointed at IFMIS

•The CoG wants grilling by the Senate on 2017/2018 books of account suspended

National Treasury PS Kamau Thugge.
National Treasury PS Kamau Thugge.
Image: ENOS TECHE

Governors have blamed the National Treasury for the "bizarre" expenditure indicated in their financial statements.

The Council of Governors says the items captured were not in their approved budgets.

The governors have formed a multi-stakeholder technical committee to unravel the spending puzzle. It is chaired by the Controller of Budget and comprises CoG, the National Treasury and the Auditor General.

 

The council called for the suspension of all Senate grilling of governors on audits arising from the 2017-2018 financial year until the technical committee concludes its findings.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who is also the chairman of the CoG, has 14 days to prepare a report on the audit mystery.

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu kicked off a storm last week when he appeared before the Senate Public Accounts Committee.

 Kiambu books of account indicated the county spent Sh903 million on State House operations, Sh575 million on South Sudan peace mission and a further Sh180 million on ex-presidents' upkeep.

Further scrutiny later showed eight more counties incurred expenditure on "State House affairs".

The CoG yesterday said the audit riddle affected almost all county governments.

“Kiambu county and the other counties did not budget, receive or spend the monies as indicated in the financial report,” Oparanya said.

“CoG wants to know who spent the money if indeed it was used. We want to know who introduced those budget lines."

Oparanya said counties produce statements based on IFMIS system housed at the National Treasury.

“Therefore, the first person to be asked about this posting or misposting should be IFMIS. We want to know how long this has been going on because what we give out as financial statements isn't what is coming out,” he said.

Treasury, in a letter that does not make direct reference to the expenditure, said the county financial statements by votes and economic items in IFMIS reflect the correct information as budgeted by the devolved units.

“However, we note that a number of counties do not pay attention to the budget programme as required by the law,” PS National Treasury Kamau Thugge said in a letter to county executives in charge of finance.

He said they are required to prepare and submit budget estimates to the county assembly by both vote and programmes.

“We note that some counties have been running the wrong report for budget execution by programmes. This has led to the wrong description of their programme,” Thugge said.

In what looks like absolving themselves from blame, Thugge said IFMIS generates reports based on the transactions captured by the user counties.

“In order for the financial statements in IFMIS to reflect the true position of the counties, you are required to capture all revenue and expenditure transactions in IFMIS," he said.

"This includes, but is not limited to, capturing the revenues received, all payments made, clearing unaccounted transactions and performing monthly bank reconciliations in the system,” Thugge's letter said.