Ouko calls out CIC for suspect spending

Auditor-General Edward Ouko has called out the defunct Commission on Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) for going on a spending spree that saw it use public funds to buy commissioners and senior staff personal items such as iPads, mobile phones and laptops during its last days in office.

Mr Ouko says in his latest audit report that the Charles Nyachae-led commission spent Sh1.33 million to procure a range of assets towards the closure of the financial year which cannot be accounted for.

“The items were categorised as office furniture and general equipment in the financial statements but the commission did not provide an explanation as to why they were bought only a few days to the closure of the year,” Mr Ouko says in an adverse audit opinion of the CIC’s last eight months in office that ended on February 26, 2016.

The audit found that payment vouchers for the mobile phone, iPad and laptop purchases were not made available for review.

“Consequently, the location, safety, custody and valuation of the unaccounted-for assets cannot be confirmed,” he said.

The five-year tenure of the CIC ended on December 29, 2015, when it was supposed to hand over its assets and liabilities to the State Law Office and the Department of Justice.

But the audit found that the commission’s assets were instead taken over by the Inter-Governmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC), the organ that took over residual duties of the Transition Authority (TA).

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The audit report says there is no evidence that the commission’s assets were received and taken in by the State Law Office and the Department of Justice as expected.

“The assets were instead taken over by the IGRTC without formal transfer from the office of the Attorney-General and Department of Justice,” the report, which was tabled in the National Assembly last week, says.

Mr Ouko said the disorderly transfer to IGRTC exposed the assets to risk of loss without trace. The audit also faulted the commission for paying terminal benefits to employees, who had not surrendered imprest amounting to Sh9.9 million.

“Apparently, the commission did not recover the imprests from the  officers before they left employment, contrary to the Public Finance (National Government) Regulations 2015,” the report says.

Besides, the audit found that the nine-member commission failed to clear a Sh3.5 million pending bill despite having sufficient cash to do so.

Pending bills in the commission’s Winding Up Report totalled Sh4.8 million while the financial statements reflected a balance of Sh3.5 million, resulting in an unexplained variance of Sh1.3 million.

“Further, it is not clear why the bills were not paid yet the commission had sufficient cash to pay the balance,” the audit report says.

Mr Ouko has also questioned the undisclosed information in the CIC’s Winding Up Report, saying the cash balance reported as banked was Sh1 million while the financial statements made available for audit reflected a balance of Sh4.14 million.

The audit has also faulted the CIC for incurring an unapproved over-expenditure of Sh2.9 million in the period under review.

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