•The computers were being procured for use in a donor-funded nutrition research project executed by the national statistics agency.
•Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has flagged the expenditure, shining the spotlight on how taxpayers could be losing millions in irregular travels.
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics staff spent Sh1.2 million to travel to Naivasha to discuss the procurement of eight desktop computers and six laptops.
The ICT equipment tender that occasioned the trip at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in August 2020 was worth Sh3.2 million.
The computers were being procured for use in a donor-funded nutrition research project executed by the national statistics agency.
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has flagged the expenditure, shining the spotlight on how taxpayers could be losing millions in irregular travels.
“The adjudication would have been done efficiently and economically at the project’s offices hence saving project funds,” she said in a report of the project’s books as of June 30, 2021.
Gathungu said no plausible explanation was provided by the management for incurring the expenditure amounting to Sh1,268,336 on travelling for the adjudication of a tender worth Sh3,259,600.
“In the circumstances, it has not been possible to ascertain whether the project got value for money on the travel expenses,” she said.
At the Social Protection Department, the auditor has flagged irregularities in an expenditure of Sh1.23 million in the Kenya Social and Economic Inclusion Project.
Some officials were paid the money for conducting national training with counties on nutritional improvement through cash and health education operations.
The officials were to train the county officers on management information system modules and provide manuals to county teams.
The audit revealed that whereas officers from the county did not attend the training, the officials proceeded to stay at the hotel where they were booked for five days.
“Documents attached revealed that officers from the counties did not attend the training and no justification was given why the trainers proceeded to stay on for five days,” Gathungu said.
She said consequently, the project objectives were not met while the public did not get value for money, hence the propriety of the expenditure could not be confirmed.
At the Tourism department, the auditor has flagged a payment of Sh745,500 made to an officer who was paid per diem for 13 days for a trip his other colleagues were paid for eight days.
The department did not explain for the extra five days paid to the officer who occasioned an overpayment of Sh286,730.
“Consequently, the effectiveness of internal controls on the management of imprests could not be confirmed,” Gathungu said.
The auditor has queried an expenditure of over a half million at the Youth Affairs department on a return air ticket to Spain for a non-civil servant to train as a professional footballer.
Gathungu said the request for the air ticket was made on July 22 2019, and the ticket was issued on September 1 the same year but the Local Service Order was issued in December 2020, an indication that an air ticket was issued before an order was placed.
No evidence was provided indicating proof of travel by the footballer contrary to the Public Finance Management (National Government) Regulations, 2015 which stipulates that all expenditures should be supported by the appropriate authority.
“Under the circumstances, the management was in breach of the law,” Gathungu said.
She flagged Judiciary’s Sh3 million expenditures relating to domestic travel and subsistence allowance.
The money was wrongly charged to foreign travel and subsistence item without approval, contrary to the Public Finance Management (National Government) Regulations, 2015.
The Presidential Delivery Unit irregularly spent Sh9 million in temporary imprests paid in respect of domestic travel and subsistence without imprest warrants as required by law.
The Devolution department equally could not confirm the payment of Sh1.3 million charged under domestic travel. Payment vouchers and other supporting documentation were not provided for audit review.
At the Technical and Vocational Training department, officials could not account for travel allowances amounting to Sh4,240,200.
“The expenditure could not be matched to any activities…and the surrender documents to support the travels were not provided for audit review,” Gathungu said.
Also queried at the same entity is Sh28.3 million paid in respect of verification of trainees’ enrolment data in technical institutions.
“No details of the institutions where the amounts were transferred to were provided. The expenditure has not been supported by a work plan, budgetary allocation, institutions to be visited and a report after the verification exercise and proof of actual travel to verify the trainees,” Gathungu said.
The department of University Education also paid staff Sh3.8 million from the foreign travel kitty for non-foreign travel activities.
Officials running the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology could not account for the domestic travel costs of Sh24.7 million which could not be linked to project activities.
The audit reveals that Sh2,450,800 was issued to KeNHA staff on behalf of National Land Commission employees, being allowances paid during site visits to the Western Bypass project.
Gathungu said the expenditure was irregularly incurred since National Land Commission employees should draw their allowances from the commission.
At Ketraco, the management failed to explain how a domestic travel expenditure of Sh8.6 million, reported as a pending bill, arose.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris