Kenya: Audit Reveals Misuse of Covid-19 Funds Homa Bay County

Homa Bay County government is on the spot for failing to account for millions of shillings allocated for Covid-19 management.

A special audit report by the Office of the Auditor-General has revealed several gaps in how the money was used by Governor Cyprian Awiti's administration, including possible loss of public funds through double payments and inflated prices of products.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu observed that the county government did not have an approved work plan.

It was established that competing bidders for contracts, worth Sh46 million, were not registered with the county government.

Auditors could not establish how the devolved government identified suppliers of Covid-19 management equipment and how companies that built isolation centres won tenders.

The report shows Sh11.8 million was used to renovate an intensive care unit ward at the county referral hospital.

Another Sh10.8 million went towards installing medical gas piping at the ICU, but companies that won tenders for the work were not properly identified.

The county government further opened an emergency account to manage Covid-19 funds, but could not explain how the money was being spent.

County received grants

By June 2020 when the audit was going on, the county government had not presented bank statements on the expenditures.

At one point, Sh950,000 was deposited in cash into the account and Sh2.6 million moved from another account into the new one.

"It was also noted that there were cash withdrawals of Sh1.7 million whose purpose and supporting documents for withdrawals like payment vouchers were not presented for verification at the time of the audit," the report stated.

The county government received grants from the national government without a budget and a Covid-19 specific procurement plan to facilitate effective and efficient use of funds.

"Section 53(1) of the Public Finance Management Regulations, 2015 requires that an accounting officer of any entity should not authorise payment to be made out of funds earmarked for specific activities for purposes other than those activities," the auditor-general wrote in her report.

Ms Gathungu recommended to Governor Awiti's administration to have a proper work plan by preparing an approved budget.

"Ensure all officers are paid through an automated payroll system and compliance with public procurement laws. Further investigation will be conducted to establish criminality on unsupported expenditure," the auditor wrote.

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