City Hall yet to pay Sh48m ‘Kidero grass’ loan
City Hall’s finance department has been put to task on why it is yet to repay Sh48 million overdraft meant for city beautification in 2015 ahead of the visits of former US President Barack Obama and Pope Francis.
The beautification programme, infamous for the ‘Kidero Grass’ tag, included landscaping and planting of flowers and grass along major roads that were used by the two dignitaries.
Nairobi County Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has opened investigations into how the money, obtained from Co-operative Bank, was spent and why it is yet to be paid back.
The loan has already attracted Sh5.3 million in interest due to the repayment delays.
But appearing before the committee on Thursday last week, acting Finance chief officer Ekaya Alumasi said the money was secured from Co-operative Bank with the promise that the National Treasury would reimburse Sh60 million to City Hall.
The Auditor General had raised audit queries on why the overdraft was secured yet the national government had promised a grant towards the same project.
In addition, the beautification programme was neither included in the 2015/2016 fiscal year’s budget nor a supplementary budget presented to the assembly for approval.
“We had been promised by the national government a grant of Sh60 million and so we acted on that to get the overdraft knowing that it will pay it,” Mr Alumasi said.
But when pressed by the chairman of the committee MCA Wilfred Odalo on why the county was yet to get the grant from the national government, the acting finance chief officer admitted that they had not asked for the reimbursement from the National Treasury.
The project fizzled out a year after the visit of the two world leaders and has since been replaced with a similar one by the current governor Mike sonko.