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City Hall did not squander Sh42 billion, says Kidero

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has termed a report by the Auditor-General that showed the county government accumulated Sh42 billion in pending bills in one year as inaccurate.

The governor had on Tuesday appeared before the Senate Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong’o, to answer to queries by an audit which also indicated that receipts amounting to Sh72 million in collected parking fees were missing.

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale said the county government should explain how it spent such a huge amount of money within a short time.

“The audit indicates that the county government accumulated Sh53 billion in pending bills in the 2014/15 financial year and the next one Sh11 billion, which gives a total of Sh42 billion. The governor should explain how such an amount was incurred within just 12 months,” said Dr Khalwale.

However, Dr Kidero said the Sh42 billion indicated in the audit did not mean the county had spent the funds.

He asked the senators not to conclude that the funds were squandered as some documents were missing at the time of computing the figures.

MISSING DOCUMENTS

“Mr Khalwale appears to have suddenly become very loud. The amount indicated in the audit does not mean it was all incurred but it’s an indication there could be missing documents at the time the auditor compiled it,” Dr Kidero said.

However, Prof Nyong’o came to the governor’s rescue when he said a special audit that had been ordered into the county government accounts in December 2015 would establish whether the huge bills had indeed been incurred.

He directed the Auditor-General to give the committee’s request priority.

Prof Nyong’o added: “The true picture of the financial dealings at the county government would not be established without the special audit.”

Senators criticized the auditor for failing to complete the task four months after the request was placed.

However, an official from the Auditor-General’s office Tuesday explained that they were short of resources, especially forensic auditors.

He said the few available ones are currently handling a long list of requests from Parliament for audits on financial transactions of various government departments, where serious queries had been raised.

“We are very constrained, there is a lot of work,” said the official.