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Auditor-General to verify status of county debts



Auditor-General to verify status of county debts

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu. PHOTO | NMG

The Auditor-General has begun looking into pending bills in the 47 county governments to determine their debt status.

Through a notice, Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu has asked suppliers and contractors to submit relevant documents for verification. She did not, however, specify the date the audit will end.

The audit, the second since 2017, is coming at a time operations in devolved governments have been crippled by a drop in own-source revenue and delayed release of funds by the National Treasury.

Suppliers and contractors are required to complete “Form A” and attach other documents before submitting them to regional offices.

The documents needed are the registration certificates, KRA pin certificate, the latest CR 12 certificate and contract agreements.

Others are local purchase orders (LPO) or local service order (LSO), delivery notes, invoices, work interim or completion certificates and demand notes.

“Every page of Form A must be duly signed and stamped by the person submitting. Submit the duly completed and signed Form A and the required documents to the regional offices or through the e-mail,” the Auditor-General said.

Mombasa, Garissa, Embu, Machakos, Nyeri, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kakamega, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Nairobi are the regional offices that will receive the documents. Suppliers and contractors have been informed where to drop the documents.

The Coast regional office in Mombasa will receive documents from Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties while Kakamega, Trans-Nzoia, Bungoma and Busia contractors will drop theirs at the Kakamega office. Their colleagues in Vihiga, Kisumu, Siaya and Kericho have been attached to the Central Nyanza regional office in Kisumu.

During the Madaraka Day celebrations in Narok in 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed government offices to settle all pending bills without audit queries on or before the end of the 2018/19 financial year. He told the Treasury to comply.

Mr Kenyatta also directed payments for supplies to the two levels of government processed and made promptly.

“Unfortunately, pending bills have negatively affected many businesses, particularly those whose bulk of capital is locked in non-payment. This has also reduced overall spending and business activity,” the President said.

The directive led to the first special audit of pending bills in which devolved governments were required to start paying debts that had been verified.

It was followed by withholding of disbursements to county governments that had not settled some bills, leading to delays in staff salaries.

Governors in the affected counties pleaded with the Treasury not to tie workers’ pay to the bills.

During the release of the mid-term review report last week, Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo said his administration owes suppliers and contractors Sh800 million and committed to complete paying by the end of this year.

Dr Ottichilo said the focus on settlement of historical pending bills had consistently reduced investment in development programmes because they had not been planned for in the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP).

He added that his administration has had to make budget cuts.

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