Current and former governors could soon find themselves on the radar of detectives after a parliamentary committee recommended graft investigations of their administrations.
The Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee wants at least 10 governors and seven former county chiefs investigated for the possible loss of funds during their tenures.
Some of the counties mentioned in the PIAC 2014-15 report include Nyamira, headed by John Nyagarama, Kivutha Kibwana’s Makueni, Paul Chepkwony’s Kericho, Uasin Gishu, led by Jackson Mandago, Salim Mvurya’s Kwale, Embu headed by Governor Martin Wambora and Kilifi under Amason Kingi.
Former governors whose administrations were put under the microscope include Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Issa Timamy (Lamu), Joseph Nduati (Kirinyaga), Kinuthia Mbugua (Nakuru) and Peter Munya (Meru).
The watchdog panel scrutinises the county governments’ books of accounts. It has recommended the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations close in on possible culprits.
The committee reports that some governors have been overseeing massive irregularities, ranging from flawed multimillion-shilling tendering processes, blatant conflict of interest, overpayments and misuse of car loans and mortgages.
It says some counties have been diverting public funds to items not budgeted for, funding ghost projects and inflating costs.
The report notes that some counties are still spending locally generated revenue at source, an avenue that has been identified as a major outlet for siphoning public funds.
In the report, a copy of which the Star has obtained, the Moses Kajwang’-led committee says Nyagarama’s administration has trampled on procurement rules.
The committee notes that the county government has a poor bookkeeping regime and huge capacity challenges in the accounting and procurement departments.
For instance, it says, most of the staff working in the department are not registered with the relevant professional agencies, raising concerns about their capacity to handle tasks.
There were no proper records for workers’ loans and mortgages, casting doubt on the sustainability of the multimillion-shilling scheme meant to provide cheap facilities to workers.
The committee wants the EACC and DCI to investigate Sh60 million spent by the county in the purchase of three heavy earth-moving equipment without a valid contract with the supplier.
The county government did not enter into its own agreement with the supplier but instead relied on the terms of the deal the contractor had with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, the committee says.
It also wants Nyamira procurement and accounts officers probed for failing to provide supporting documents for the expenditure of goods and services amounting to Sh4.8 million.
“The committee recommends that the responsible officers be prosecuted for breach of Section 62 of the Public Audit Act,” says the PIAC.
The committee also cites the county for single sourcing casuals for various civil works amounting to Sh7 million and procuring resource mapping services at a cost of Sh21.7 million through direct procurement.
The team wants Governor Mandago’s administration investigated for a Sh378.9 million loan advanced by the Kenya Commercial Bank.
It wants the EACC and DCI to establish why the county paid the money from the loan directly into the machinery suppliers’ accounts without first banking it at the County Revenue Fund as required.
“The committee noted that there was a material breach of procedures and law, recommends further investigation on whether there was adherence to procurement process,” say a Report.
The panel learnt that the statement of receipts and payments reflected nil proceeds from domestic borrowing yet the county had taken a loan from KCB.
“The committee noted that there was a material breach of procedures and law, recommends further investigation on whether there was adherence to procurement process,” it recommends.
The committee wants the EACC and DCI to establish why only Sh378.9 million was received by the county yet the devolved unit had signed a loan agreement for Sh484.4 million with KCB.
The procurement of computers, printers and digital cameras for Sh9. 9 million in Makueni should be investigated as well, the team recommends.
Governor Kibwana’s administration did not convince the panel why the orders were split into a number of smaller quantities, contrary to Section 30 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005.
The law requires procurement exceeding Sh6 million to be done through open tendering.
“The committee noted that the non-compliance of the law resulted in the loss of public funds and recommends that the DCI and EACC should investigate the violation of the process and law with the view to prosecute those responsible,” reads the report.
In Kwale county, the administration invested more than Sh93 million in the purchase of tree seedlings, some of which disappeared into thin air, according to the panel.
The committee concurred with the Auditor General’s report that up to Sh8.7 million spent by the Department of Lands, Physical Planning and Natural Resources to buy 200,000 tree seedlings could not be accounted for.
It notes auditors visited various ward administration offices but could not physically verify where the seedlings were planted.
“Therefore the committee recommends that the DCI and EACC should investigate the responsible officers with a view of the recovery of the funds and prosecution for breach of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act,” the committee says.
It wants Governor Wambora’s government investigated for funding stalled projects. This follows the county’s decision to pay contractors substantial amounts of money before works are completed.
Some of the works include water projects valued at Sh79.9 million. “Where money has been paid for incomplete work, the contractor and responsible officers should be investigated and prosecuted with a view of the recovery of the funds lost,” the committee says.ADVERTISING
In Kilifi, the team points out, Sh23.4 million was paid to the personal bank accounts of three individuals during the year under review.
The Kingi administration told the committee that the payments related to allowances paid to MCAs for meetings and activities initiated by the executive.
The county said the payments were wired through the personal accounts of three county officers to cater for subsistence allowances for MCAs as the county assembly had exhausted its allocation for members’ allowances.
But the committee recommends the officers be prosecuted for breach of Section 62 of the Public Audit Act, saying they failed to provide documents.
The team also points out that at least eight suppliers were contracted for Sh5.8 million yet they were not on the pre-qualified list for accommodation and catering services.
Former Meru Governor Munya’s administration is on the spot for irregular renewal of an insurance scheme for county workers without open tendering after the expiry of the contract.
The county had contracted an insurance firm to offer enhanced medical cover at a sum of Sh31.6 million but renewed it at Sh139.9 million after the deal expired.
The increase of Sh108.2 million reflected a 342 per cent increase and was above the 25 per cent variation allowed under the law, the committee says.
“The accounting officer who caused Meru county to suffer financial loss through the insurance cover be held liable and further investigations on the matter should be carried out by relevant bodies on how Gold Field became a broker,” the committee states.
It also wants Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and former county chiefs Cleophas Lagat (Nandi) and Samuel Ragwa (Tharaka Nithi) investigated. And Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga and former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero surcharged.Do you have any story you would like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish it. You can also contact us at email@example.com