Auditor-General uncovers questionable expenditure in Nakuru County

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu has uncovered significant irregularities and dubious expenditures potentially leading to the loss of millions of shillings in Nakuru County.

In her latest report for the financial year 2022/2023, Ms Gathungu highlighted irregular and questionable expenditures totalling over Sh1.5 billion in the county.

The report revealed that the Susan Kihika-led administration failed to justify several expenditures, including irregular procurements and double payments. One glaring example is the payment of Sh116 million to private lawyers without adequate documentation or evidence of services rendered.

The report also exposed a loss of Sh98 million in a civil case where the county failed to comply with a court decree issued in 2019, leading to additional interest charges. Additionally, the county could not account for Sh1.15 billion in payments to staff, highlighting potential mismanagement of public funds.

Further, the audit revealed discrepancies in routine maintenance expenditures, with Sh28 million spent on vehicle repairs and maintenance not supported with proper documentation.

The report also raised concerns about revenue management, noting that revenue generated by health facilities was not deposited into the County Revenue Fund as required by law. Similarly, liquor licenses were issued without proper oversight, leading to a significant number of establishments operating without licenses.

Additionally, the county was found to have irregularly procured drugs and medical supplies, bypassing the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority as mandated by law.

Irregularities included the transfer of Sh50 million to a School Feeding Fund without legal support, questionable expenditures on office supplies and services, and mismanagement of imprest.

In the construction sector, the audit identified delays and lack of compliance in a hospital outpatient block project, raising concerns about accountability and adherence to contractual agreements.

The Auditor-General also questioned irregular expenditure on the drilling of boreholes. The expenditure of Sh88,790,163 on drilling and equipping 27 boreholes was not supported with hydrological survey reports and environmental impact assessment reports, Water Resources Management Authority permit, completion certificates and site ownership documents.

The county also irregularly paid salaries amounting to Sh75,570,008 paid manually, and made deductions without compliance with the one-third rule.

It also emerged that 28 county officers were illegally retained beyond the mandatory retirement age of 60 years without an explanation of the special skills the officers possess to warrant their retention.

Two officers were also found to share a bank account through which they were paid salaries. No explanation was provided for this anomaly.

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