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Committee formed to investigate County's soaring debts

02 December 2015, 16:30 Dareel Eric

Vihiga - Vihiga County Assembly has formed a 15 member committee to investigate the source of county's soaring debts estimated to be at KES 2.5 billion now.

This follows a motion tabled by Mungoma ward rep Wycliffe Masini asking the assembly to compel the accounting officer of the County government to submit financial reports of the year 2014/15 and quarterly report of financial year 2015/16 as per requirements of the law.

Masini noted that during the financial year 2014/15, the county government is said to have accrued pending bills of amounts not accurately tabulated nor stated as varied figures have been put forth to date putting public funds at risk of misuse and possible embezzlement.

“Further, despite the first quarter of the financial year 2015/16 having elapsed, the accounting officer is yet to submit the quarterly report, in retrospect the true financial position of the County government is not known,” said Masini.

He noted that the Vihiga County Government Appropriations Bill 2015/2016 was passed on June 30, 2015 as per section 131.1 of Public Finance Management Act and Article 224 of The Constitution and that on October 22, 2015 the Finance Bill was passed too.

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“Observing that contrary to section 163 of the Public Finance Management Act, the County treasury failed to prepare annual financial statements of the financial year 2014/15 and further contrary to section 164 and 165 of the Public Finance Management act, the accounting officer of the county government has failed or refused to submit the annual report for the financial year 2014/15 and quarterly report for the financial year 2015/16,” he said.

The committee formed by the assembly will now be chaired by North Maragoli ward rep Andrew Ahuga.

Other committee members include Wycliffe Masini, Abdalla Chogo, Joshua Olao, Noah Mmbwanga, Pauline Amwata, Elizabeth Anaya, Zachariah Murefu, Benedict Kiwanuka, Munai, Richard Muhiga, Jennifer Ekhuya, Peter Amuhinda, David Ogova and Amwache.

The committee has also been mandated to interrogate the executive on the whereabouts of the KES 900 million set aside for ward development fund in 2014/15 after no tangible development projects were initiated.

Each of the 25 wards was to receive KES 36 million from the ward development kitty, and this financial year, each ward is supposed to receive KES 40 million for the same purpose.

Also to be investigated is failure by the County's administration to pay contractors and suppliers debts that have accrued to over KES 600 million.

The committee will also investigate claims of irregular procurement of machines that are said to have cost the County millions of taxpayers’ money yet they are lying idle with some getting vandalised.

Speaker Dan Chitwah gave the committee a period of three weeks, starting Tuesday to report back to the House.

According to Controller of Budget's report on annual County governments budget and implementation review for the financial year 2014/15, the County has pending bills as at June 30, 2015 amounting to KES 1.56 billion for development activities and KES 460.12 million for recurrent expenditure totaling KES 2.02 billion.

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