NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 27 – A total of 47 county assemblies spent Sh4.90 Billion tax payer’s money for domestic travel in the 2016/2017 financial year according to the Auditor General’s financial report.
Sh2.09 billion of this amount was not approved by the county assemblies, with all of the domestic travel by Lamu County officials and MCAs unauthorized followed by Tana River at 93 percent.
Taita Taveta County failed to submit its expenditure report for analysis while Tharaka Nithi County tops counties with the highest domestic travel expenditures at Sh540 million.
The Auditor General also could not find supporting documents of Sh68 million out of Sh458.9 million in foreign travel by counties.
The report that was mostly compiled at the National Level reveals that Bomet county is top of the list on unsupported foreign travels at 87.6 percent as West Pokot comes in second at 57.4 percent.
Tharaka Nithi, Meru and Kisumu follow in respectively with 55.4 percent, 43.4 percent and Kisumu at 30.9 percent.
Auditor General Edward Ouko called on citizens to ensure they keep all levels of government accountable for how it spends tax payer’s money.
“The only way citizens can know how their money is spent is through active participation. These amounts are huge, and we are looking at how we can have a good framework of social accountability. We will have to transfer accountability to the lowest level,” he commented.
“The political class can no longer be trusted, and the taxpayers are at the mercy of the government. The government is slow at completing citizens projects and clearly, the revenue is not backed well,” added the National Coordinator of Tax Payers Association, Irene Otieno.
Speaking during the launch of the report, Kajiado County Speaker Johnson Osoi however said the report does not mean legislators are not doing their work.
“The figures should however not mislead you that we are not accountable to anyone or someone is not doing their work. To add on that, we want to be accountable to National Tax Payers association and not the senate. At the same time there is no excuse for any county not to have an audit committee, “he said.
Also highlighted by the tax payers report, a total of Sh134.9 billion pending bills where Nairobi county is at the lead with sh 101.3 billion as Mombasa comes second with Sh 4.6 billion.
The 46 counties have Sh14.6 billion of un supported pending bills.
The national tax payers association has recommended on county governments to adhere to section 107(2)b of the public management act 2012-70:30 on recurrent development.
To avoid misuse of funds, the association has also recommended to have all withdrawal from the county collection accounts to be done by the authority from the controller of budget and that all payments should be through IFMIS.