Nairobi liquor board in the soup over missing Sh150 million

Nairobi Acting County Secretary Jairus Musumba (in red tie) and former Acting Director Liquor Board Hesbon Agwena during the meeting with the PAC committee on Wednesday.

Photo credit: Kevin Cheruiyot | Nation Media Group

The Nairobi City County Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday put to task the county Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Board on how it spent more than Sh427 million in the 2019-2020 financial year.

According to Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu’s report that was released in October 2022, the county liquor board only submitted vouchers of up to Sh275,113,746 which was collected during the year for audit, representing 91 per cent of the total expenditure.

The board members were asked to explain how they spent Sh152 million, which was supposed to be the balance in the county revenue fund.

The committee revealed that receipts of the expenditure were deposited into the Co-operative Bank account but the evidence of remittance of such receipts to the County Revenue Fund (CRF) was not submitted for audit review.

During the meeting, the committee said that the figure of revenue collected was not supported by a schedule of liquor licence applicants, database lists of all liquor outlets within the county, and liquor board deliberations/minutes of approvals and rejections in support of the reported revenue figure.

Also, the listing of licences and their security numbers were not provided for audit verification.

PAC Chairperson Chege Mwaura (Ngara MCA) asked the former Acting Director of the Liquor Board Hesbon Agwena to explain the failure to deposit the revenue collected into the CRF.

Submit the full report

In his response, Mr Agwena said the fault might be the management's, which might have failed to submit the full report to the auditor-general.

“But I think maybe it was an omission on the part of the management, which is the county executive ... because all along from 2014, the management and assembly have been approving payment,” Mr Agwena said.

To settle the expenditure during the year under review, the committee asked the board to submit daily, monthly, quarterly and annual revenue reports for audit review.

Mr Agwena and his team promised the committee that they will submit all the details indicating how the money was spent by Monday next week.

The committee also noted from the auditor-general report that the board paid a total of Sh96,586,552 million in terms of allowances, without any documents to indicate how the money was used.

The allowances were paid in terms of workshops (Sh55, 393,531), another workshop allowance of Sh2,667,760, a monthly allowance of Sh35,019,681, and a monthly sitting allowance of Sh3,505,580.

The board was asked to explain why there was no acknowledgement of the recipients for the funds and explain why huge sums were withdrawn.

The committee also demanded answers from the board regarding the unsupported supply of goods and services, which led to a payment of Sh28,147,580.

Among unproved paid-for services was Sh9,851,880 for air tickets to Egypt, Sh1,020,800 for flights to Kigali, and Sh970,000 consultancy services, among other services.

The committee will have another meeting with the board next week to explain in support of documents how the money was spent.