Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui’s administration has paid out Sh300 million in pending bills out of the genuine Sh400 million the county government owed suppliers.
The remaining Sh100 million will be cleared by next week, according to Finance Executive Peter Ketyenya.
Dr Ketyenya said the money will be paid once reconciliation of records is concluded.
The CEC, in an interview with the Nation, revealed that the county government has complied with the Auditor-General’s advice that out of the Sh2.5 billion it owes suppliers and contractors, only Sh400 million is genuine.
“For the remaining Sh2.1 billion that was found to have issues, a committee has been formed to review the bills and hand over its report to the Council of Governors and Auditor-General for advice, “said Dr Ketyenya.
This means that Nakuru County can now breathe a sigh of relief, as it will get its share of the equitable transfers for December.
“We had already obtained our November share of the national government funds. We are only waiting for the December share,” added the Finance CEC.
On December 18, 2019 acting National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani issued a new directive that halted disbursement of funds to county governments until pending bills are cleared.
In a statement, Mr Yatani said as of December 18, only Elgeyo-Marakwet, Homa Bay, Kajiado, Kericho, Kilifi, Kwale, Laikipia, Makueni, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Uasin Gishu and Baringo had cleared their pending bills.
This was despite a court order that directed the National Treasury and the Controller of Budget to release funds to 35 counties which are yet to receive their equitable share.
The National Treasury had withheld the allocations due to the pending bills.
Mr Yatani maintained that going forward, it will be a requirement that county governments provide monthly status reports that will include an itemised list of all the bills paid.
The National Development Coordination and Communication Committee chaired by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i also said the government will resort to legal means to compel county governments that are yet to settle all pending bills to do so promptly.
He warned county governments against giving unnecessary excuses about pending bills despite getting funds from the government.
The Nation established that the Sh2.1 billion Nakuru’s pending bills that will now be scrutinised afresh have massive irregularities and serious queries raised by auditors.
In most of the cases, suppliers and contractors may not have followed procurement procedures or may not have delivered projects, goods or services on time, hence there was no value for money.
Once they are scrutinised, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions may be called in to take appropriate action against the employees, suppliers and contractors implicated.
In July 2018, Governor Kinyanjui’s administration paid Sh1.2 billion pending bills the county government owed suppliers.
The bills were cleared after verification of construction works and goods and services offered to the county government to ensure it received value for money.
The county inherited pending bills amounting to about Sh3 billion from the previous administration of Governor Kinuthia Mbugua.
Since the inception of devolution, contractors and suppliers across the 47 counties have been crying foul over delayed payments for goods delivered and services rendered.
In Nakuru County, some debts date back to the 2013/14 financial year.
When Governor Kinyanjui took office in August 2017, he promised to audit the pending bills, fearing the county government might have accumulated debts in illegal transactions.