Kenya: Sonko Did Not Solely Bankroll Beautification Project - MCAs

City Hall allocated Sh18.75 million in the 2017/2018 financial year for the city beautification project, contrary to claims that it was being bankrolled by Governor Mike Sonko.

Shockingly, only Sh661,500 was used for the project, with the chunk of the money going toward payment for subsistence allowances for trips and retreats outside the programme.

Environment director Isaac Muraya said the county spent Sh661,500 to pay casuals hired for the project by the county government.

The amount was paid in two tranches of Sh440,000 and Sh221,500 to the 40 contracted casuals.

Mr Muraya was appearing before the County Assembly Public Accounts Committee on Monday.

The officer, together with acting Environment chief officer Mohammed Abdi, could neither explain how the money was used nor provide supporting documents for the expenditure.

"The Environment ministry did not spend any money or enter into contract for the purchase of materials such as grass, red soil and manure used in the beautification; it only spent money to pay casuals engaged in the programme," said Mr Muraya.

ACCOUNT FOR MILLIONS

Pressed by the committee led by Mabatini MCA Wilfred Odalo to account for the remaining millions in the allocation, the officer said Sh18.75 million was erroneously used on subsistence allowances and was sufficiently explained before the committee in an earlier appearance.

However, the committee auditor said the executive provided vouchers amounting to Sh7.4 million only with the rest, totalling more than Sh11 million, not supported by any documentation.

The House team said it did not understand how money meant for the beautification programme was used in a different vote head and how a mixup arose in payments not related to the issue under investigation.

This was after the officers revealed that most of the money went towards payment of per diems for officials on retreats.

For example, Sh46,000 was paid for an officer who went for a workshop in Machakos County while only Sh37,000 was paid to another official who had travelled to Lagos, Nigeria.

On his part, City Hall Finance and Economic Planning chief officer Halkano Waqo absolved himself, saying every sector prepared their responses as they were best placed to explain their expenditure.

"I am not running away from my responsibility but the audit queries are sector-specific and I cannot answer for them," he said.

The officers will appear before the watchdog committee again on July 2 to shed more light on the project.

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