Parliament owed Sh33m in imprest

Auditor General says money ought to have been recovered or accounted for on or before June 30, last year

Despite enjoying lucrative perks and huge salaries, Members of the National Assembly are still in debt, owing Parliament Sh33 million in imprest.

Those  who are in the roll of can’t pay, won’t pay, include 25 sitting legislators, one sitting governor, three Chief Administrative Secretaries and two senators.

Auditor General Edward Ouko in his report for the year ended June 30 last year, says the outstanding imprest, totalling Sh33.6 million ought to have been recovered or accounted for on or before June, 30, last year.

“No satisfactory reasons have been provided for failure to surrender or account for the imprests,” writes Ouko in his report compiled in April and tabled in the National Assembly last week.

The auditor general also points out that Parliament owes travel agents Sh140 million and Sh 55.4 million to high-end hotels, mostly at the coastal city of Mombasa, a favourite spot for its retreats and workshops.

In response, Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai says Parliament was in the process of recovering the outstanding imprest, which stood at Sh49,402,796 by June 30. The latter figure includes cash owed by parliamentary staff.

And prominent in the list  indebted MPs is Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso with outstanding imprest of Sh849, 992. She served as the MP for Sotik in the 11th Parliament.

The CAS include Public Service ministry CAS Rachael Shebesh who owes Sh 592,176, her National Treasury counterpart, Nelson Gaichuhie, Sh608,358 and East Africa CAS Ken Obura Sh142,633. They are all former members of the House in the last Parliament— Shebesh (Nairobi Women’s Rep), Gaichuhie (Subukia) and Obura (Kisumu Central).

Former Nominated MP  and now Nairobi Senator Johnstone Sakaja owes Sh77, 979 while nominated Senator Mary Seneta has yet to account for Sh760,686.

Members in the House leadership are also in the list are Minority Leader John Mbadi, Sh75, 344, Majority Deputy Whip Cecily Mbarire, Sh1.2 million and Junet Mohammed, Sh68,479.

Sitting legislators include Jessica Mbalu Sh1,022, 618, Gladys Wanga Sh916,864, Waihenya Ndirangu Sh1,053,605, Daniel Maanzo Sh959, 533 and Bady Twalib, Sh932, 880.

Others are David Gikaria, Sh654, 668, James Lomemen Sh625, 525, Sarah Korere Sh404, 460, Joseph Manje Sh68, 600 and Kanini Kega Sh 343, 824.

Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), Commissioner Aisha Jumwa owes Sh178, 048, Victor Munyaka Sh448, 712, Stephen Mule Sh 392, 556 and James Murgor Sh458, 432.

Others are Lemein Korei Sh342, 576, James Nyikal Sh266, 289 and Millie Odhiambo Sh341, 007. Bernard Shinali and Ali Wario owe Sh185, 232 and Sh 509, 808 respectively. MPs who served in the 11th Parliament but lost their seats in the last election but had outstanding imprests include Edick Ayanga Sh1.6 million, Susan Musyoka Sh1, 471,254, Roba Duba  Sh687, 000, Priscilla Nyokabi Sh235, 155, John Ndirangu Sh239, 292.

Others are Justice Kemei Sh949, 334, Abdikadir Omar, Sh849, 992, Silvance Osele, Sh582, 930, John Serut, Sh822, 595, Clement Wambugu, Sh 976, 131 and Joe Mutambu, Sh 365, 976.

Ouko’s report says Public servants in ministries, departments and agencies are still bypassing strict financial management rules to make away with millions meant for imprest.

Pending bills

An audit of government books of accounts show that outstanding or unaccounted for petty cash tripled from Sh117.6 million in 2014/15 financial year to Sh350.98 million as Heads of State offices failed to recover this from the culprits’ salaries.

“Review of management of imprests indicates that imprests continue to remain unaccounted for at the end of the financial year. Failure to account for imprests on due date is in contravention of Government Regulations,” notes Ouko.

The Imprest Fund, which is sometimes called Imprest Account, petty cash account or petty cash fund, is supposed to be a self-checking account where a fixed balance is maintained through regular replenishment and is used for small and routine operating expenses.

Failure to surrender the imprest contravenes a 2013 circular by National Treasury, which requires that imprest is surrendered or accounted for within seven working days following return from official journey.

It also breaches the 2015 Public Financial Management Regulation. “No explanation has, however, been provided for failure by the management to compel staff to surrender these imprests, or recover the same from their salaries,” notes the report. Ouko that the National Assembly had pending bills totalling Sh236, 728,322 as at June 30, last year. He, however, advises that had the bills been paid and the expenditure charged to the accounts for the 2016/17, the statement of receipts and payments for the year would have reflected a reduced surplus of Sh 97, 911, 915 instead of Sh 334, 640, 327.

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