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Nairobi MCAs on the spot over Sh80m perks for ghost meetings

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Nairobi MCAs on the spot over Sh80m perks for ghost meetings


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City Hall, Nairobi County headquarters. FILE PHOTO

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Summary

  • The Nairobi County Assembly is on the spot for spending Sh81.53 million in sitting allowances for MCAs in the financial year ended June 30, 2019 without proof of such meetings.
  • This comes after Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu flagged the city county for not being able to provide a schedule of meetings as well as attendance registers to support the expenditure.

The Nairobi County Assembly is on the spot for spending Sh81.53 million in sitting allowances for MCAs in the financial year ended June 30, 2019 without proof of such meetings.

This comes after Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu flagged the city county for not being able to provide a schedule of meetings as well as attendance registers to support the expenditure.

This cast doubt on the accuracy and validity of the expenditure incurred by the assembly as sitting allowances.

According to the report, the personal allowances were paid as part of a salary of Sh238.83 million meant for the assembly’s staff.

“Examination of records revealed that a total of Sh81.53 million was paid as sitting allowances to Members of the County Assembly during the year under review. However, the schedule of meetings supported with attendance registers was not provided for audit review,” read the report.

“Consequently, the accuracy, completeness, and validity of the expenditure of Sh81,525,600 incurred on sitting allowances could not be confirmed.”

The report comes at a time when the assembly’s Liaison committee, in its March report, faulted the city legislators for going for retreats as opposed to attending committee sittings.

The committee pointed out that the assembly spent over Sh85 million in allowances to the MCAs last year alone.

According to the report, during the assembly’s fifth session, between February 4 and December 3, 2020, the ward representatives went for 45 retreats through the 23 committees at the city assembly.

It also emerged that the committees failed to table retreat reports exposing the assembly to audit queries.

The Ruai MCA John Kamangu-led committee revealed that Mombasa is the preferred retreat destination with Pride Inn Hotel the place to be.

When MCAs go out for a retreat, they are entitled to a daily per diem of Sh14,000 in addition to Sh20,000 as transport allowance.

With an average of 25 members, with each retreat lasting an average of four days, the assembly coughed up Sh63 million in per diem during the period under review.

Also, at least Sh22.5 million was spent on transport allowance for the members during the 45 retreats held.

At the same time, the report revealed that the assembly made payments amounting to Sh15.6 million to various members of staff through refunds of expenditure spent on domestic travel and subsistence allowances during the period under review.

This despite the concerned staff failing to apply for imprest before undertaking the various journeys.

This was contrary to the provisions of Regulations 91 (2) and 93 (4) of the Public Finance Management (County Governments) Regulations, 2015, on management of temporary imprest, which requires employees to make formal application for imprest before travel.

“There was no explanation why the concerned staff did not apply for the imprest before undertaking various journeys. Consequently, the management was in breach of the regulations,” read in part the report.



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