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Auditor General unmasks questionable expenditure in Kitui County

The Auditor General in the annual 2022/2023 Financial year audit report has unmasked questionable expenditure in Kitui County.

The statement of comparison of budget and actual amounts (recurrent and development
combined) reflects the final expenditure budget and actual on a comparable basis of
12.3 Billion and 10.3 Billion respectively resulting in an underexpenditure of 1.9 Billion or 16% of the budget. The under-expenditure affected the implementation of the planned activities and programs and impacted negatively on service delivery to the public.

The financial statements reflected an opening balance for pending bills of
1.5 Billion while the audited financial statements for the prior year reflect a balance
1.8 Billion resulting in an unexplained variance of 291 Million.

The Auditor General questioned a 5.9 million variance in the manual (Excel format) payroll
system, the Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) Payroll (Excel Format), and
the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Database (IPPD) system. An amount of 684 Million was reported through the two manual payroll systems while 4 Billion was paid through the IPPD system, totaling 4.7 Billion which differs from the financial statements.

The Auditor also raised concerns over electricity bills of 15 million charged to construction and civil works but paid as a subsidy for two water companies. Further, 3 Million used for the purchase of vaccines lacked supporting documents as well as 55 Million for routine maintenance of motor vehicles that were not supported with efficiency analysis reports, logbooks, work tickets, user requisition, and inspection certificates.

Further, the report raised concerns over 3 million irregular payment to the Council of Governors, and development expenditures of below percent contrary to PFMA regulations of 2015. The county spent 21 percent on development.

The County Executive under the Ministry of Sports and Culture acquired two parcels of
land measuring seven (7) acres each in the financial year 2022/2023 at a cost of
2.6 Million and 5.8 Million for the construction of stadiums in Mutomo and Mwingi
respectively. However, Management had not obtained the title deeds for the two parcels
of land. Further, the land had not been secured with a fence to check on encroachment.

Legal expenses totaling 25.3 Million were incurred on the hire of various legal
firms. However, scrutiny of documents revealed that the County legal office engaged the
services of several consultants to render legal services without the approval of the County
Executive Committee. This was contrary to Section 16(1) of the County Attorney Act of
2020.

The report further raised questions on irregular public participation after approval of the budget. County Level Infrastructure Development Programme (CLIDP) documents revealed
that the County prepared and submitted development budget estimates of
765 Million to the County Assembly and the same was approved in June 2022. The public participation was, however, conducted on 16 and 17 January 2023. 3.1 Million used for renovations at Kisasi Boys was flagged as the same falls under the national government.

The Auditor also flagged stalled projects including the construction of a sump well and pump house at Nzeeu River and rehabilitation of the Mukameni pipeline, steel water tank at Muuani, Kithomboani modern market, and Land infrastructure and urban development headquarters.

A review of employees’ records revealed that 577 officers had been on probation for more than 6 months out of which 234 officers had been on probation for more than three (3) years without confirmation. A review of the human resources records revealed that the County lacked approved key policy manuals for Human Resource Management. The policies include a customized scheme of service, career progression guidelines, casual engagement policy, HR development policy, and staff establishment.

The auditor also flagged a lack of policies on ICT Risk management and disaster recovery.

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