The Nandi county government could have denied patients life-saving services after revelations it failed to spend Sh2.3 billion in 2017-18 financial year.
This emerged during a Senate committee hearing as the legislators questioned Governor Stephen Sang on poor collection of own-source revenue and management of imprests.
The County Public Accounts and Investments Committee summoned the governor to respond to audit queries flagged by former auditor general Edward Ouko in 2017-18.
For instance, Finance, Economic Planning and ICT, Youth, Gender, Sports and Social Services and offices of the governor and deputy governor did not absorb their allocations at all.
The Finance department had been allocated Sh117.67 million, Youth Sh58.50 million and the offices of the governor and his deputy Sh13 million.
“It is evident that management did not utilise a total of Sh1,305,412,643 or about 69 per cent of the county executive’s development budget. No reason was given for under-utilisation of development funds,” reads the report in part.
Sang said the low absorption in the budget was caused by delay in the budget approval process.
“The county assembly approved the 2017-18 budget estimates with a number of errors which led to the Office of the Controller of Budget rejecting the budget,” he said.
Due to the errors, he added, his administration wrote a sessional paper to the county assembly and prepared an entirely new budget, which was approved in November 2017.
Senators Johannes Mwaruma (Taita Taveta), Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Ochillo Ayacko (Migori) and Ledama Ole Kina (Narok) piled pressure on the governor to explain why the residents were denied services.
“When you don’t spend, it means that mwananchi is affected. Youths are very active people. How did you spend zero on Youth Affairs, really?” Mwaruma posed.
Cherargei said, “The people of Nandi did not get value for money that was allocated in 2016-17 because Sh625 million in the CRF account was carried forward. Again in 2017-18 there was under-absorption.”
“You have made roads impassable because of under-absorption on roads and transport. That is why you are using imprests to wash your cars,” he added.
But Sang explained that although the report showed poor absorption, several projects were ongoing but had not matured for payment.
“It doesn’t mean that if we did not make any payments then work did not start. We had very many projects that were at various stages of implementation but we could not pay because they were not completed,” the governor said.
The county chief was also put to task to explain why his administration did not recover Sh758,280 in imprest during the year despite the law that recoveries should happen within 14 days.
Sang said that at the time of the audit, the imprests register had not been updated and the surrenders had not been attached to the imprest warrants.
The governor was also questioned on why the county revenue dipped by Sh46.85 million from the previous year.
“The reduction in county own-source revenue was attributed to transitional challenges and low collection of tea cess,” he said.