Governor Irungu Kang’ata has accused ‘some people’ of scheming to steal from the county Sh1.8billion in fake pending bills.
He said that when he was sworn in, he was handed a Sh1.7 billion bill, which was later revised to Sh2.7 billion.
“I became suspicious and insisted on verification of the bills. We invited the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission and sought permission from the Controller of Budget (CoB),” he said on Sunday.
Speaking on KTN News, he said that the task force he formed to undertake the verification invited claimants to present relevant supportive documents.
“In the verification process, the only bills that have been claimed are worth Sh900 million. And upon further scrutiny, I’m sure that the figure will go down,” he said.
The pending bills task force is headed by Mr James Miring’u, who is the procurement boss at the Kenyatta National Hospital. It will verify and authenticate bills incurred in the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 financial years.
Dr Kang’ata reiterated that all genuine bills will be paid “since from where I seat, I truly believe in settling genuine debts, but unfortunately, no fake bill will be paid”.
The governor said it’s important that the exercise be dispensed with at the earliest possible time and a final list of the pending bills accompanied by a payment plan be submitted to the CoB.
“This is important since the two reports inform priority to any county capitation. Paying the pending bills is classified as top priority,” he said.
He said his predecessor, Mwangi wa Iria’s regime got many things wrong.
“That regime was not collecting garbage and we had to put in place mitigation measures when we came in. It operated a bloated payroll that was in breach of the law by an excess of 10 per cent. While it was supposed to run a digital payroll, it introduced a parallel manual one that used to pay Sh500 million of unaccounted for salaries,” he said.
Dr Kang’ata said he will collapse the two payrolls into one and proceed to audit and clean it to ‘weed out all mischief’.
Regarding the staff audit, the county boss said the task will be conducted in a sensitive, humane and objective way.
He said the exercise is meant to streamline the payroll to have a clear record that categorise employees by their competencies, job groups and salaries.
In the next three weeks, he said, the county will be testing the digitisation of some of its critical functions such as rates, cess, licensing, parking, markets and healthcare.
“We will be a digital county that minimises physical interactions in financial transactions. We’re digitising at no cost since we’re going for mutual benefit partnerships. We will maximise revenues, partnerships and exercise prudence and integrity to raise enough to fund development projects,” he said.