The office of the Assembly Clerk in Wajir County is facing serious allegations of mismanagement of public funds. Confidential sources at the assembly told The Weekly Vision that in the financial year 2020/2021, an analysis of payroll for the year ended 30th June 2021 indicated that the County Assembly paid Members of County Assembly and Members of County Assembly Public Service Board Ksh.17, 772,841 as sitting allowances for committee, plenary and Board sittings.
However, scrutiny of signed attendance schedules and summaries including arrears for June 2020 indicated that members sitting allowances payable during the year should have been Ksh. 14,503,100 only leading to an unsupported variance of Ksh. 3,269,741. The assembly also paid Ksh.17, 000,000 as legal fees to two law firms. However, a review of the payment documents revealed that the legal services were single-sourced as there was no evidence of competitive bidding from the list of prequalified legal firms.
This is in contravention of Section 91(1) of the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act, 2015 which states that open tendering shall be the preferred procurement method for the procurement of goods, works and services. In the circumstances, the assembly leadership was in breach of the law.
The source also revealed that 9 staff personal files did not contain academic certificates of the staff or evidence of other relevant qualifications while some of the staff were appointed in job groups N and P which ordinarily require holders to have undergraduate qualifications.
Additionally, one officer was promoted from scale 8 to scale 11. There was however no evidence to support his progression from a scale of 8 to 10 to qualify for promotion to a scale of 11. The officer had served on scale 8 for less than one year before being promoted to scale 11.
During the same year, the County Assembly paid a total of Ksh. 102,000,000 as car grants to the Speaker and Members of the County Assembly. This being income from employment qualifies for Pay as You Earn (PAYE) tax at 30% of the amount paid. The County Assembly was therefore required to deduct PAYE amounting to Ksh. 30,600,000 and remit the amount to Kenya Revenue Authority, which they never did in the circumstances, breached the law.