A total of 4.90 billion shillings of the taxpayers’ money was spent by Kenya’s 47 county assemblies for domestic travel in 2016/2017 financial year, says the Auditor General’s financial report.
The report indicates that 2.09 billion shillings of the total amount spent were not approved by the county assemblies.
All of the domestic travel done by Lamu Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) and other county officials was unauthorized. Tana River followed with 93 percent.
According to the Auditor General, Taita Taveta County did not submit its expenditure report for analysis whereas Tharaka Nithi County leads among counties with the highest domestic travel expenditures at 540 million shillings.
The counties also provided no supporting credentials for foreign travel worth 68 million out of 458.9 million shillings.
Among the leading counties in terms of unsupported travel is Bomet County at 87.6 percent followed by West Pokot at 57.4 percent.
The report which was mostly compiled at the National Level noted that Tharaka Nithi, Meru and Kisumu follow in respectively with 55.4 percent, 43.4 percent, and Kisumu at 30.9 percent.
Edward Ouko, the Auditor General has urged the citizens to make sure that all the levels of government are held accountable for how it spends the taxpayers’ money.
“The only way citizens can know how their money is spent is through active participation. These amounts are huge, and we are looking at how we can have a good framework of social accountability. We will have to transfer accountability to the lowest level,” Ouko said.
“The political class can no longer be trusted, and the taxpayers are at the mercy of the government. The government is slow at completing citizens’ projects and clearly, the revenue is not backed well,” added the National Coordinator of Tax Payers Association, Irene Otieno.
Johnson Osoi, Kajiado County Speaker, however, claimed that the report is no indication that the legislators are not doing their work.
“The figures should however not mislead you that we are not accountable to anyone or someone is not doing their work. To add on that, we want to be accountable to the National Tax Payers association and not the Senate. At the same time there is no excuse for any county not to have an audit committee,” Osoi said.
Speaking during the launch of the report, Osoi also cited the report saying that in a total of 134.9 billion shillings pending bills, Nairobi county leads with 101.3 billion shillings and Mombasa comes in second with 4.6 billion shillings.
In summation, 46 counties account for 14.6 billion shillings of unsupported bills.
“Governments should adhere to section 107(2) b of the public management act 2012-70:30 on recurrent development,” the national taxpayers’ association said.
The association noted that in order to avoid misuse of funds, all withdrawals from the county collection accounts should be done by the authority from the controller of budget and that all payments should be through IFMIS.