Only Sh235 million genuine out of Sh1.69 billion pending bills, Kisii taskforce reveals

Kisii Governor Simba Arati

Kisii Governor Simba Arati. A taskforce has reported to Mr Arati's that over Sh1 billion is being claimed by cartels who did not deliver any goods or services to the county.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A taskforce investigating Kisii County’s Sh1.69 billion pending bills has revealed that only bills worth Sh235 million are genuine.

Mr Haron Nyakundi, the taskforce’s chairperson on Thursday reported that the rest of the money was being claimed by cartels who did not deliver any goods or services to the county.

The team reviewed the status of pending bills between the 2013/2014 and 2021/2022 financial years.

“We were given pending bills worth Sh1.69 billion to scrutinize. We could only come up with genuine bills worth Sh235 million,” Mr Nyakundi said.

Mr Nyakundi said even the genuine Sh235 million pending bills should be probed further, to determine whether equipment like laptops that were delivered are still within the county government’s premises.

The taskforce collected its data through site visits, questioning of key officers and scrutiny of relevant documents from various departments of the devolved unit over the last three months.

The team found out that most projects that were purported to have been completed and payment claims made had stalled.

It also discovered that most projects had not been well executed due to a lack of supervision by county officers.

The committee claimed that respective chief officers must have been part of the conspiracy to defraud the devolved unit.

The team advised Governor Simba Arati to compel some contractors to redo the projects before being paid.

Early Childhood Education Centres (ECDEs), sports facilities, and roads are some of the facilities that were not properly constructed, the committee said.

“We noted that high-quality goods were quoted in the (tendering) documents but inferior materials were used in the projects. We also came across works certified as 100 percent complete but site visits revealed otherwise,” Mr Nyakundi said.

“At an ECDE centre was marked as 100 percent completed but we found it without a roof,” he clarified.

In another instance, Mr Nyakundi said a contractor showed photos of a warden supervising prisoners as evidence of work done.

It is not clear whether that contractor had paid the inmates to do the job.

The committee reported that some contractors did not own any equipment to do the work they had been given yet they had made claims running into millions of shillings.

The committee also discovered irregularities in the award of tenders. There was also forgery of signatures in the tendering processes as some contractors were duped into signing photocopies of tender documents.

“We came across forged documents. A chief officer signed a contract before some people forged his signature which they embedded on photocopies of 15 fake contracts before giving them to contractors to sign.”

The task force discovered that some contractors were being compelled to give bribes.

“A chief officer wrote a letter to resident engineers saying that no site shall be inspected unless the contractor pays money up-front,” Mr Nyakundi said.

Governor Arati urged contractors to take their work seriously. He told county officers to supervise the implementation of projects to ensure that public money is not lost.

“Let us be accountable for the funds that we are given to work for the people,” said Mr Arati.

He promised that contractors whose payments have been given a clean bill of health will receive what is due to them”.

The other members of the taskforce are Eng. Hillary Nyaanga, Dr Damaris Oyaro, CPA James Angawa, Counsel George Mor-ara, Mr Martin Papa, CPA Nicodemus Karori and Mr Victor Magara.

The governor said the team was formed to distinguish genuine pending bills and dubious claims.