Transport ministry on spot over unexplained aviation billions, Sh1.2bn Ifmis payout

Monies can't be traced to books

In Summary

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has cast doubt on the payments as reflected in Ifmis records.

Whereas the authority’s records showed that it collected Sh6.9 billion, records at the Transport ministry showed that only Sh5.5 billion was realised.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu
TRANSPORT AUDIT: Auditor General Nancy Gathungu
Image: FILE

Officials at the Transport department are on the spot over an unexplained Sh1.29 payment made through Ifmis.

A review of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) records revealed  the payments were made on July 1 and July 2, 2021.

Officials reported that two companies, a State Corporation and the Commissioner of Income Tax received the cash.

In a new report, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has however, cast doubt on the payments as reflected in Ifmis records.

“The payments could not be traced to any of the accounts in the financial statements,” she said in the audit of the Transport department for the year to June 30, 2022.

Also unexplained is at least Sh1.42 billion that was collected by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in the period to June 30, 2022, which the auditor says cannot be traced.

Whereas the authority’s records showed that it collected Sh6.9 billion, records at the Transport ministry showed that only Sh5.5 billion was realised as revenue from aviation fees and air navigation charges.

Gathungu said in the report tabled in Parliament recently that the amounts reported as transfers to other agencies do not add up.

During the year under review, the Transport department reported that it transferred Sh5.9 billion to other state agencies, being Sh5.56 billion for recurrent grants and Sh347 million for development.

It has also emerged that the purported transfers to KCAA represented the amounts spent by the authority from its own revenues.

“However, KCAA records indicated a total amount of Sh6,935,252,529 as own generated revenue, resulting in an unexplained difference of Sh1,426,309,546.”

“In the circumstances, the accuracy of other receipts amount of Sh5,508,942,983 and transfers to other government entities of Sh5,508,942,983 could not be confirmed,” Gathungu said.

From the Ifmis transactions, payments totalling Sh5.9 million, which were made to staff from the state departments’ deposit account to staff are also subject of the audit query.

The Auditor General says the basis and reason for the payments to staff from the deposit bank account were not clear.

“In addition, the recurrent cash book reflects a payment to general suspense of Sh17,000,000 on June 22, 2022. The amount however could not be traced to any expenditure account in the financial statements.”

“In the circumstances, the accuracy, validity and completeness of the expenses of Sh1,318,553,217 could not be confirmed,” Gathungu said.

The department has also been called out for failing to provide supporting documents for a balance of Sh40.1 million deposits retained in the department’s accounts.

The details of the beneficiaries and the payment details of the deposits from Kenya Railways Corporation and State Department for Infrastructure were not provided for audit review.

“In the circumstances, the accuracy and completeness of the accounts payables balance of Sh44,281,856 could not be confirmed," the audit report read.

Gathungu has also raised concerns that taxpayers may have missed critical services from the department considering its budget performance.

This was after the department failed to spend 45 per cent of its budget of Sh11.4 billion in the year under review.

The State Department spent Sh6,291,484,512 against an approved budget of Sh11,353,315,862 resulting in an under-expenditure of Sh5,061,831,350.

“The underfunding and underperformance affected the planned activities of the State Department and may have impacted negatively on service delivery to the public,” Gathungu said.

Also queried were pending bills of Sh23.8 million, which the management failed to settle in the year in which they fell.

The Auditor General said the management did not explain why the bills were not settled during the year they were incurred.

“Failure to clear pending bills in the year to which they relate distorts the budget of the following year as they constitute a first charge on that budget,” the auditor said.

The auditor further warned that the department could subject nine of its employees to "pecuniary embarrassment" for paying them less than a third of their basic salary.

The Public Service HR manual outlaws over commitment of salaries beyond two thirds of an individual’s basic salary, a condition HR units should check.

“In the circumstances, management was in breach of the regulations as this may expose the staff to pecuniary embarrassment."

(Edited by V. Graham)

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