The trouble facing Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja seems to be dangling on his embattled reign after he was left stammering at the Senate oversight committee over questionable procurement and failure to submit documents to verify the expenditures.
According to the 2016-17 audit records on the financial expenditures of the Taita Taveta executive, the county declined to submit to the auditor general financing documents for expenditure sums to more than Sh700 million.
“No support documents for the pending bills were availed for audit verification. Consequently, the validity, accuracy and authenticity of the pending bills amounting to Sh680.7 million as at June 30, 2017, could not be ascertained,” Ouko’s report reads.
They include unsupported pending bills amounting to Sh680.7 million, Sh3.9 million irregular tender for the installation of a switchboard at Voi Referral Hospital and failure to recover Sh10 million.
On his defence, Governor Samboja revealed that his administration has been facing challenges obtaining documents since the transactions were done during the former administration.
“These are some of the challenges that we found when we took over. These were because of internal controls within the county government. This is why some of these things happened,” the governor said.
His explanations were, however, rebuked by Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri.
“You are under obligation to provide information to auditors when they knock at your door. What you are telling us is that the documents are somewhere but we don’t know where,” committee chairman Sam Ongeri said.
Senator Ongeri’s sentiments were seconded by the Taita Taveta Senator Johanness Mwaruma.
“Section 196 of the PFM is clear on the sanctions for failure to provide documents. Maybe the governor may not be aware of the implications of the law, ” Taita Taveta Senator Johanness Mwaruma added.
According to the audit report, there was no document for pending bills for accounts payable Sh598 million and for staff balances payable Sh82.4 million.
“No support documents for the pending bills were availed for audit verification. Consequently, the validity, accuracy and authenticity of the pending bills amounting to Sh680 million as at June 30, 2017, could not be ascertained,” the report reads.
Further, Sh10.6 million worth of impresses was unusual for more than six months contrary to section the Public Finance Management (County Government) Regulations 2015.
“Consequently, the propriety, accuracy and validity of outstanding imprests could not be ascertained.”
In his response, Samboja said to the committee that the exceptional imprest during the period under review has since been abdicated and cleared in the system.
“Despite some having been surrendered on time, there were system challenges that delayed their clearance in the IFMIS system on time. All the imprests that were outstanding have been surrendered,” Samboja said.