The Commission on Revenue Allocation has warned governors against ignoring and rubbishing audit reports while the Auditor-General has been told to avoid blanket condemnation of devolved units.
The warning comes after a number of governors trashed the auditor-general’s report for the financial year 2014-2015 that exposes massive financial irregularities in the counties.
The latest is Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, who has said claims by the auditor that Sh20 billion cannot be unaccounted for were “impractical”.
Speaking at City Hall, commission chairman Micah Cheserem said the auditor-general’s report should indicate which funds had accounting errors or were stolen and where value for money was not provided.
“We cannot dismiss the auditor-general but we need to differentiate between accounting errors and documentation and cases where money has been lost and where the people did not get value for money,” Mr Cheserem said.
He said before the report is released, governors should be given an opportunity to respond to queries raised.
He noted that 80 per cent of cases that the auditor claims are misappropriated funds turn out to be accounting errors.
“Kenyans will start ignoring these reports because they don’t tell us what has been genuinely lost so that the people involved are charged in court,” he said.
Mr Cheserem urged Kenyans not to make blanket accusations of corruption against counties, saying some of them like Moyale have been success stories.
On the Sh20 billion that the auditor says is unaccounted for in Nairobi, Mr Cheserem said he had not seen the report but found it amazing that so much could have been misappropriated when the county only received Sh23 billion in 2014/15.
“I am not saying that no money was lost. Corruption is real in both the county and national governments but we have to end it for devolution to work,” he said.
He said he had ordered a scrutiny of the report to determine genuine loss of money and accounting errors.
He said the county should, in the next five years, be able to raise funds through revenue collection instead of relying on the national government.
He revealed that his commission was working with the county government, the Treasury and World Bank to find ways of raising property rates to boost revenue.