The Senate’s County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) on last Tuesday suspended its sitting in Makueni after the Auditor General failed to explain the status of 26 stalled projects worth Sh146 million flagged by the auditor in the county’s 2017/2018 financial audit report.
The CPAIC chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang gave the Auditor General seven days to furnish the committee with a progress report of the stalled projects.
Makueni and Nyandarua were given a clean bill of health by the Auditor General for prudent utilization of resources.
However, the committee cast doubts on the unqualified opinion, pointing out discrepancies in the report.
“It is the responsibility of the Auditor General to provide the list of the stalled projects and their status so that we can listen to the mitigating circumstances,” said Senator Kajwang.
“I am beginning to question the rigor of this audit exercise and the seriousness with which the officers sent to Makueni approached this task. I am beginning to feel like this is a lazy report designed to produce an A result,” he said.
The senators also questioned the county’s variance between the financial statements and the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) despite all other 46 counties reporting challenges with the system.
“There are issues I know that no single county has resolved, issues like identification and transfer of the defunct local authority assets. It is not in this audit report and it’s not a problem for Makueni alone,” noted the chair.
Senator Kajwang also put the auditor on the spot for not capturing audit reports for previous financial years in the 2017/18 report as required.
“We have looked at audit reports for 47 counties for the last five years. It has been the trend by the auditor general to update Parliament on audit reports of previous years, but they have not been captured on this report. Does it meant that all the audit prayers have been closed to the satisfaction of the auditor general?” he posed.
The auditor general termed the lack of schedule of the stalled projects as an oversight and sought for more time to present the required details.
Governor Kivutha Kibwana who had appeared before the committee to respond to audit queries for 2017/18, 2016/17 and 2015/2016 denied corruption allegations levelled against his government in a petition presented to the Senate by an anonymous person.
The governor termed the petition that raises queries on expenditure amounting to Sh1.4 billion as faceless and accused the Senate of being misused to spread falsehoods.
He asked the Senate committee to give his government time to respond to the allegations and invite his wife Nazi Kibwana who was alleged to have been paid money through her Shina Foundation to supply sanitary towels to school girls.
“The alleged dossier was not signed and it is unfortunate that some busy bodies can access the senate and mislead it, my wife has never received a single coin and she should be invited because her name has been tarnished,” said the governor.
The governor also protested the committee’s questioning of the county’s unqualified opinion and asked the Senate to instead summon the Auditor General if they do not trust the report.
“I have a feeling it is actually wrong to do well because when you do well people penalize you in Kenya,” said Kivutha.
By Roselyne Kavoo