Audit reveals massive wastage, nepotism in six south rift counties

The county government paid over Sh300 million to ghost workers in the 2016/2017 financial year, according to the Auditor General.

The report said the county treasury could not explain an increase of Sh316,144,805 in its payroll.

“The financial statements reflected a figure of Sh5,110,659,087 while the payroll summaries reflected a figure of Sh4,794,514,227,” read the report in part.

According to the Auditor General, in the 2015/2016 financial year, there was another inconsistency in the payroll where Sh337,569,375 could not be explained.

The audit pointed at irregular payments outside the payroll.

Since 2013, the county government has been grappling with its bloated workforce.

According to figures from the county treasury, salaries take up 44 per cent of the total revenue of Sh11.7 billion.

This means that the county exceeded the 35 per cent limit set by the Public Finance Management Act 2015.

When he took over as the county chief in August 2017, Governor Lee Kinyanjui instituted a staff audit.

The audit said Sh26 million was paid annually to 23 employees, who could not be accounted for.

Also, the budget for compensating employees who left shot up by Sh83,903,748 from an initial figure of Sh5,026,755,339.

 Hire labourers

The audit further noted that despite the county having a workforce of approximately 5,000 employees, it was not clear why it continued to hire casual labourers, thereby increasing the wage bill.

In Bomet County, the executives spent over Sh8.7 million on foreign travel in the last financial year.

The Auditor General said that Sh8,702,777 was paid to Northwood Agencies Limited and Chaka Ventures for hiring helicopters.

The county had budgeted Sh20.5 million for foreign travel, but it ended up spending Sh28.4 million.

“No records of procurement were provided to confirm how these firms were identified, selected and awarded services by the county executive,” read the audit report.

Bomet County spent Sh74 million on public participation, but the audit said the venues and invitations did not adhere to any defined structures.

The Kericho County executive breached labour laws on hiring of casual employees.

An analysis of the payroll showed that 43 casual workers were retained in the payroll and worked throughout the year, receiving total wages of Sh7.96 million.

Casual employment, according to labour laws, should be terminated after three months.

The county government, according to the audit, should have terminated the employment of the casual workers or hired them on permanent terms.

In Narok County, over Sh76 million was spent on domestic travel.

The audit stated that Sh5 million was paid to various employees as imprest, but it could not be confirmed that the journeys were undertaken.

Further, over Sh16 million was spent on foreign travel.

It could not be proved that Sh1.1 million more was paid to staff as imprest.

No explanation

In Laikipia, the Auditor General questioned the expenditure of Sh29.6 million allegedly paid to a contractor to put up a fence for wildlife protection.

No explanation was given why the project had stalled and why it did not follow the designed path.

It further emerged that the county government had not updated its valuation rolls and was still using a draft prepared by the defunct Municipal Council of Kabarnet in 2009.

Failing to update the valuation roll, according to the Auditor General, translated to loss of revenue due to use of an obsolete document.