Senate queries Sh96b owed by counties

The Senate has called for a thorough forensic audit of all pending bills before counties following revelations of fictitious invoices being used to fleece the public in the devolved units.

The Public Accounts and Investment Committee (PAIC) has questioned the bills amounting to Sh96.5 billion terming the figure outrageous and one which requires detailed audit to establish authenticity.

“The pending bills could be another scandal in the making. You will find that only 10 per cent of the Sh95 billion is genuine, the rest has been introduced by governors,” said Committee chairperson and Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang following a meeting yesterday with Isiolo Governor Mohammed Kuti.

Pending bills of counties grew from Sh37.8 billion in 2014/15 financial year to Sh37.3 billion in 2015/16 to peak at Sh96.5 billion last June, with the Nairobi County having the highest debt figure of Sh60 billion.

The committee heard that the bills unpaid by the counties had risen to Sh99 billion by the end of September last year. “The figure could be more by now. The audit will confirm our concerns as a committee,” Kajwang said.

He also cautioned governors against holding crucial financial documents from auditors, saying that was tantamount to criminal offence.

“Failure to provide financial documents to auditors is a crime under the Public Finance Management Systems Act 210(1),” he said.

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