Ex Governor Mike Sonko’s Close Allies Looted County Funds 

A report by the Auditor General has revealed how members of the Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Board under the chairmanship of Kennedy Odhiambo and Hesbon Agwena who was then a director on the board, colluded in looting public funds.The board was appointed by former Governor Mike Sonko in 2017; it was however dismissed by then-acting Governor Benson Mutura in 2021.

Mr Kennedy Odhiambo, whose appointment as the chairman remained controversial as a result of his academic qualifications and suitability for the job is said to have been arrogant in running the affairs of the board using threats and intimidation not only against his colleague on the board but even to his staff as well. The sub-county liquor officers were constantly stressed up as the chairman famously known as Odhis intimidated them due to his closeness to governor Sonko. He was later to betray Sonko when he jumped on NMS Director General Lt.Gen Mohamed Badi’s side when Mr Sonko was impeached.

His attempts to have Benson Mutura spare him fell on deaf ears as his contract was not renewed. Currently, he is the chairman of ROG matatus plying the Kariobangi South-Town route. During the last elections, he unsuccessfully contested for the Embakasi West Parliamentary seat on the ODM ticket.  According to the report for 2020/2021, the management paid board allowances, staff allowances, stipend allowances, per diem and field allowances to staff totalling Ksh. 140,955,215. However, approvals for payment of the allowances and relevant supporting documents including minutes, attendance registers, travel evidence, evidence of recruitment of interns, evidence of fieldwork participation and evidence of participation in workshops were not provided for audit review. 

Further, in some cases, officers were paid per diem and subscription fees to attend seminars and workshops of professional bodies for which they were not members and evidence of payments of the subscription fees to the professional bodies were not provided for audit. In the circumstances, the validity of the allowances paid could not be confirmed.

Further, the management issued temporary imprest to staff amounting to Ksh. 2,816,300. However, the officers used the imprest to among other things undertake procurement of goods, works and services, implying irregular direct procurement contrary to Section 103(1) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.

The imprest was not recorded in the register and was not accounted for as required. This was contrary to Regulation 93(1) and (4)(c) of the Public Finance Management (County Governments) Regulations, 2015 which states that an imprest shall be issued for a specific purpose, and any payments made from it, shall be only for the purposes specified. 

Further, the management issued standing imprest to various officers amounting to Ksh. 2,152,000 for the operations of offices. However, the imprest was not accounted for and several officers had multiple outstanding standing imprest. In the circumstances, the management was in breach of the law.The management also paid for training expenses amounting to Ksh. 27m, however, examination of payment vouchers provided for audit revealed that training expenditure amounted to Ksh. 29,613,770, resulting in an unexplained variance of Ksh. 2,613,770. Further, the payments were not supported by relevant supporting documents including training programmes, invitation letters, boarding passes, travel documents and copies of stamped passports. In the circumstances, the accuracy and completeness of training expenses could not be confirmed.

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