The latest report by the Controller of Budget (CoB) for the 2021/2022 financial year (FY) has revealed how Governor James Nyoro’s administration disregarded the law and adopted a manual payroll that is prone to abuse, exposing the devolved unit to the risk of losing public funds.
The Budget Implementation Review Report looked at the first nine months of the fiscal year.
It revealed that the county government processed a total of Sh141.77 million through the manual payroll, which accounted for seven per cent of the total personal emolument (PE) costs. The report says the expenditure could not be authenticated as there was no trail on how the money was spent.
“During the period, a wage bill amounting to Sh864.22 million was paid through a manual payroll. The manual payroll carried 14.5 per cent of the total PE costs. The manual payroll is prone to errors and may be misused to misappropriate public funds where there is a weak internal control system,’’ the report says
The county, says the CoB report, was guilty of maintaining “a high wage bill, which accounted for 45.8 per cent of the first nine months’ proportional revenue of Sh13.13 billion ... above the legal threshold of 35 per cent ... constraining funding to other programme.’’
The report further reveals a shocking spending spree by county officials on domestic and international travels and other allowances even as the devolved unit stared at pending bills amounting to over Sh2.2 billion.
CoB calls out the county government for “low absorption of development funds ... indicated by the expenditure of Sh615.95 million in the first nine months of FY 2021/22 from the annual development budget allocation of Sh4.78 billion. The development expenditure represented 12.6 per cent of the annual development budget against an expected absorption rate of 75 per cent.’’
The report further cites “violation of the fiscal responsibility principle on the minimum allocation towards development expenditure of 30 per cent based on Sh.4.87 billion (27.8 per cent) and Sh12.64 billion (72.2 per cent) allocation for development and recurrent programmes respectively.’’
Additionally, for the nine months under the review, the expenditure on domestic travel amounted to Sh262.40 million (Sh185.46 million spent by the assembly and Sh76.93 million by the executive). Expenditure on foreign travel amounted to Sh69.39 million (Sh64.94 million by the assembly and Sh4.46 million by the executive).
Moreover, analysis of expenditure by economic classification indicates that Sh6.02 billion was spent on employee compensation, Sh1.75 billion on operations and maintenance, and Sh615.95 million on development activities.
The county has been grappling with debts that currently stands at Sh5.33 billion as of March 31, with most suppliers and service providers cutting off supplies.
Mr Nyoro and assembly Speaker Stephen Ndicho clashed last week with Mr Ndicho accusing the governor of not making efforts to pay debts despite receiving funds from the exchequer.
This is not the first time Kiambu has come under scrutiny on the use of public funds. Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu hasa in the past put Kiambu County on the spot over an alleged irregular expenditure of over Sh500 million in the financial year ending June 30, 2019.
The administration spent Sh551.8 million without supporting payment vouchers.
Ms Gathungu noted that only receipts of payments amounting to Sh14.8 million were made available.
“Management did not provide any explanation for the failure to present the records for audit. Consequently, the accuracy, completeness, and validity of expenditures totalling Sh551,819,258 could not be confirmed,” the auditor said.
Yesterday, when Governor Nyoro was contacted to comment on the report, he declined.