Sh10m ‘withdrawn from City Hall account by non-existent office’
City fathers are once again on the spot for irregular withdrawal and expenditure of Sh10 million development cash by officers working in an office that was not operational at the time.
The revelations emerged during a Nairobi County Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting on Monday evening. The committee is looking into audit queries from the Auditor General’s report for the financial year ending June 30, 2018.
According to documents tabled before the committee, the transfer of the millions happened at Cooperative Bank, City Hall branch on August 16, 2018.
The Sh10 million was withdrawn from the development account to operations account by an officer from the County’s Cashiers Office without following due process of the law.
Interestingly, Finance Executive Charles Kerich and Head of County Treasury Johnson Akong’o told the committee that the said office has been moribund for close to two years and is no longer an important one at the county.
“The office is no longer important and I would like to ask the head of Treasury to state whether it is still operating and what it does exactly because the county a while back insisted that when payments are made there is no cash in hand and where possible money is transferred directly to accounts and that is a practice we are currently doing,” said Mr Kerich.
However, John Kioo, the officer in charge of the Cashiers Office, disputed the claims by his seniors telling the committee that he received instructions from the County’s Treasury to transfer the cash from the Development Account to Operations Account.
“I have never heard of that (that the Cashiers Office does not exist) because I have been receiving my full salary as usual as the cashier,” said Mr Kioo.
Nominated MCA Silvia Museiya also sought to know the legal authority in which the Cashiers office operates questioning the need for the existence of the office with officer operating without knowing sector budget and what to implement.
“The cashier officer has no idea of what is budgeted for and what is not so has no idea if he is spending within the framework or not, development money or not. He is just spending on authorisation that is being sought illegally,” Ms Museiya said.
The revelations came after Minority Whip Peter Imwatok sought to know how the money was moved from one account to another without following the due process.
“The transaction was sanctioned by the Head of Treasury and the then Finance Executive. The money was then withdrawn from one account and deposited into another before the head of Cashiers office was instructed to go access it,” said Mr Imwatok.
The Makongeni MCA added that for such a transfer to happen, a supplementary budget must be prepared and brought before the Assembly for approval but that did not happen in the particular case.
However, Mr Kerich stated that he did not know whether the transaction was irregular or not, saying that provisions of the law should be applied to determine that.
“I would have to refer to the PFM Act but if that money was refunded, maybe it was borrowed. If the operations account is empty and there is a possibility of transferring the amount so long as it is refunded within the same financial time, then I think that will be okay,” Mr Kerich said, adding, “However, I am not saying that is what happened but I will need to check the Act if it is legal or not.”