Auditor General Exposes Financial Rot At Kisumu County Assembly

By The Weekly Vision

Kisumu County Assembly Speaker Elisha Oraro and Clerk Owen Ojuok are on the radar of investigative agencies following shocking revelations of malpractices in running the affairs of the Assembly. According to the latest report by the auditor general, Mr Ojuok, who is the accounting officer and CEO of the Assembly, could soon find himself answering audit queries over matters of procurement and abuse of office.

In the report, it has been discovered that the County Assembly owes Ksh. 70,989,650 to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) as PAYE based on the assessment of tax liability up to 2nd March 2021. The tax liability arose from a tax of Ksh. 18,142,110, penalties of Ksh. 45,148,581, and interest of Ksh. 7,698,958. This was contrary to Section 37(1) of the Income Tax Act 2018.

Also under investigation is an expenditure of Ksh .1, 455,695 paid to two companies for Office and General Supplies and Services. However, signed contracts between the County Assembly and the two companies were not provided for audit verification. It was therefore not possible to know if the public got value for the money, and more so if the procurement laws were followed.

Further, the Clerk, who is the CEO of the Assembly, authorized a payment of Ksh. 885, 600 for internet connections and Ksh. 934,000 paid to a telecom company for telephone, telex, facsimile, and mobile phone services. However, no documentary evidence was provided to support the expenditure.

A law firm was paid Ksh. 1,109,982 for a legal suit against the former speaker, Onyango Oloo, for the recovery of outstanding car and mortgage loans amounting to Ksh. 8,389,339. However, the legal fees were charged to the County Assembly instead of charging to the car and mortgage Fund. In the circumstances, the propriety of the payments could not be confirmed.

During the year under review (2021–2022), the County Assembly spent Ksh. 2,975,800 on the procurement of sports gear, which had been reserved for the AGPO group. However, the AGPO registration certificate of the supplier was not provided for audit verification. This was contrary to Regulation 145 of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Regulations. In the circumstances, management was in breach of the law.

The Clerk and the Speaker are also accused of irregularly approving an expenditure of Ksh. 67,140,758 paid to Ward staff, Members of the County Assembly, and Board Members outside of the IPPD System. This was contrary to The Treasury Circular No.13/2019 dated 28 August 2019. No explanation was provided for the failure to process the salaries in the IPPD database.

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