Laikipia County Government has paid Sh. 77.5 million out of the Sh. 1.1 billion of pending bills inherited from the previous regime.
The County Executive Committee (CEC) member in charge of Finance and Economic Planning, Murungi Ndai trashed recent claims by local merchants that the county owed them in excess of over Sh. 100 million of pending bills inherited from former governor Joshua Irungu administration.
Speaking over the weekend, Ndai said that Governor Ndiritu Muriithi says his administration could only honour payments of Sh.77.5 million bills that were found payable after an intense audit was conducted by internal and external auditors.
Ndai added that the then National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich through the Attorney-General’s office conducted audit of pending bills in all the 47 counties and that Laikipia was found to owe contractors only Sh. 77.5 million for the tenders that were fully completed.
He said the Matengo and Associates, audit firm, conducted an audit on the Sh.1.1 billion pending bills but zeroed in on Sh77.5 million that were found eligible for payment.
“We have so far paid out Sh. 77.5 for contract works that were fully and satisfactorily completed and that is why we were listed among 16 counties that have cleared their pending bills,” Murungi said.
The CEC added that a further Sh. 250 million was awaiting payment once the concerned contractors complete their works and certificates of completion were issued.
He said that an earlier audit by the county government revealed that Sh.500 million worth of tenders issued between years 2013 to 2017 did not meet the threshold of payments as they lacked the necessary documentation.
“In our audit conducted in 2017, half of the bills in the Sh.1.1 billion were found out to be fictitious and therefore not eligible for payment. These bills had either missing, ineligible or questionable vouchers which made it impossible to pay,” Murungi said.
The CEC said they are strictly adhering to the procurement guidelines to ensure no piling of pending bills that would lead to suffering of Laikipia residents.
“We fail to understand when we hear people claiming that we owe them money yet when we check our records we realise the due procedure in awarding the same was not followed. This could only mean that they were involved in under dealing or were given work without following the right procurement laws,” he said.
The CEC further said that the county administration was working closely with the office of the Auditor General’s office and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) with a view of establishing County employees who might have issued certificates of completion to works not completed or never done in order to facilitate false payments.
By Martin Munyi