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County to audit contractors, clear pending bills

Contractors doing business with the county government of Kisumu are set to undergo a forensic audit to establish the status of projects and pending bills.

The audit targets to weed out cartels holding tight onto county government contracts blamed for the poor completion rates for various projects in the area.

Finance and Economic Planning County Executive Committee Member (CECM) George Okong’o said the initiative aims to produce a proper inventory of all projects in the county alongside the contractors to assist the administration assess the level of completion and workmanship as the county moves to clear all pending bills.

Okong’o said some contractors had developed a penchant for grabbing as many contracts as possible failing to deliver on the set timelines.

The contractors, he added, rushed to raise interim certificates of completion to get payment from the county government before completing the projects.

This, he said, was to blame for the ballooning pending bills which currently stands at Sh.1.7 billion with the bulk of the projects yet to be completed.

No contractor working on a project worth Sh. 5 million and below, he said will be allowed to raise an interim certificate of completion adding that payment will only be done once a project is completed.

“If the audit reveals that a certain contractor has so many projects it will not make sense to be given more,” he said.

This, he added, will not only streamline the county procurement processes but also open room for more companies in the area to do business with the county government.

The audit, he revealed, will also relook into the companies papers to ensure that they meet all the requirements.

“It is unfortunate that some of the companies have fake single business permits,” he added.

Addressing SME’s from the county during a forum organised by ABSA Bank, Okong’o said the county government has allocated Sh. 1.6 million this financial year to clear the pending bills once and for all.

In March 2013, the county government’s pending bill stood at Sh. 3 billion before it was slashed to Sh. 2.4 billion by the Controller of Budget.

So far the county has paid out Sh. 800, 000 million owed to various contractors over the last five years.

By Chris Mahandara

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