Kidero rivals unearth dirt from county audit reports

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero. (Photo: Beverlyne Musili/Standard)

The fight for Nairobi’s gubernatorial seat has now shifted to delivery of projects, with Governor Evans Kidero’s competitors digging into audit reports to pin him down.

Documented evidence by the Auditor General and the Controller of Budget paints a grim picture of Dr Kidero’s regime, which has continuously diverted cash for development to the recurrent budget.

Jubilee aspirant Mike Sonko and his running mate Polycarp Igathe are now exploiting in-competencies pointed out by the audit reports to show that the Nairobi Governor has sold the city short.

“At the halfway point for this 2016/17 financial year, Nairobi County has been ranked 45th out of 47 on the use of its development budget, meaning that it’s already terrible development spending has just got worse,” Mr Igathe said.

“Since 2013, Nairobi County has spent, on average, only 13.1 per cent of its approved budget on development and yet it has been able to spend, on average, 86.9 per cent on recurrent expenditure.”

The Jubilee aspirant says that as a result, several projects have since been abandoned halfway and risk being white elephants even after the county sunk hard-earned taxes in them.

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Road and drainage projects, public walkways, transport facilities such as bus stations are chipping away even before they are completed, meaning the county will have to pay more to repair the unfinished projects.

“No reason was given for failing to pay for budgeted and certified works. Some of the projects had passed their completion dates. This project mismanagement leads to further loss of funds – through fines and penalties, for instance,” said Auditor General Edward Ouko in a 2014/15 report.

Mr Igathe said none of the auditor’s recommendations on handling cash, managing assets and complying with the Public Financial Management Act have been implemented.

“Money meant for one purpose, say utilities, has been used for another purpose, typically to pay per diem and travel allowances,” he said.

He added that for every Sh7 that the county had available to spend on development between June and December in 2016/17, it spent only Sh1.

As at December, the county reported it had spent Sh791.62 million on development against the approved budget of Sh11.39 billion.

The problem has persisted since the current County Government took power. Between 2013 and 2016, Nairobi County spent Sh54.42 billion on salaries and operations and delivered only Sh8.4 billion worth of development.

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“In short, it costs taxpayers nearly Sh7 in recurrent expenditure to receive Sh1 worth of new development every year. The truth is that taxpayers would get more development if they paid for it through a Chama,” Igathe said.

The aspiring deputy governor also accused Dr Kidero’s government of breaking the law when spending, citing reports by the Auditor General that showed the County Government has not been depositing revenues in the Central Bank’s County Revenue Accounts.

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