19 counties on the spot over Sh33bn donor funding

A view of 64 Stadium in Eldoret

A view of 64 Stadium in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, on March 27.  The Sh1.2 billion upgrading of the stadium was 46 per cent complete in June last year.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu has raised concerns over delayed completion of Sh33 billion donor-funded projects in 19 counties.

The money channelled to devolved governments through the State Department of Housing and Urban Development is meant to finance projects under the Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP).

The programme is charged with establishing and strengthening urban institutions to deliver improved infrastructure and public services.

The report on the accounts of the State Department for Housing and Urban Development for the 2021/22 financial year says the International Development Association (IDA) committed Sh31 billion – with Sh2.1 billion coming from the government – to fund projects during the period under review.

As at June 30 last year, the IDA had released Sh29.4 billion or about 95 per cent of its total funding commitment.

The government had released Sh330.3 million or about 16 per cent of the total projection.

The project is set for closure on July 31. The Auditor-General doubts it will be realised, given the delayed disbursement of money by donors and failure by counties to complete the projects within contractual periods.

Physical inspection by auditors as at July 2022 indicates that a majority of the projects were yet to be completed and handed over to county governments.

Work on those completed was poor, “meaning the public may not have obtained value for money from the contracts”.

The audit points out weaknesses in the financing agreement as the reason for lack of accountability, leading to delayed construction and delivery of materials, irregular procurement, bad work, variation of contract prices and stalling of others.

The counties flagged are Kericho, Homa Bay, Bomet, Migori, Nyamira, Baringo, Kisii, Taita Taveta, Uasin Gishu, Kitui, Machakos, Nyeri, Samburu, Turkana, Trans Nzoia, Wajir, Garissa, Kilifi and Tana River.

The KUSP financing agreement states that as the implementing agency, the state department has the responsibility of ensuring the money is used for the intended purposes.

What limits the state department is that county governments are autonomous, making enforcement of accountability hard.

“Given the autonomy of the participating county governments, it was difficult for the state department to enforce accountability for funds received and projects implemented,” the report reads.

The audit proposes that the financier and implementing ministry or state department includes a clause in the agreements to “cause the participating counties to account for the operations separately” in future.

The Sh1.2 billion upgrading of 64 Stadium in Eldoret has been delayed. Work started on June 14, 2021 and was to be completed in 15 months.

The progress report of June 2022 shows that the project was 46 per cent complete.

“The project is behind schedule and...expected benefits may not be realised,” the report says.

Work on the Sh874.3 million business complex in Trans Nzoia County is behind schedule.

The contract, signed on June 25, 2018, started on June 10, 2019 and was to run for two years. The period was revised to November 30, 2021.

The actual amount certified as at June 1, 2022 was Sh569.6 million while what was paid was Sh461.6 million with the percentage of the physical work done as at June 1, 2022 being 80.

The audit inspection in July 2022 showed the project was behind schedule and the time lapse was 123 per cent.

The Sh575.7 million construction of Nyeri municipal bus terminal has been flagged too.

The project was awarded on May 27, 2019 but verification in July 2022 revealed that though work had been completed, the contractor had not handed the project to the county.

Construction of Sh351.6 million Kithomboani market by the devolved government of Machakos has stalled and the contractor was not on site in July last year.

The project started on June 25, 2019 and was to be completed by September 6, 2021.

The county government also contracted a firm to build Kathemboni road at Sh117.52 million for six months in May 2022.

However, the project was yet to be completed and work progress was at 37 per cent against time lapse of 133 per cent as at August 2, 2022. No reason was provided for the delay.

Kilifi County government cannot explain the delay in delivery of the Sh120.9 million fire station and emergency centre. The one-year project started on May 17, 2021.

The contractor has been paid Sh71.67 million with work at 76 per cent. No extension time was granted to the company after lapse of the contract period.

Kericho County is on the spot following the delay in construction of storm water drainage and delivery of a firefighting truck.

The audit says the county government contracted a firm to build storm water drainage in Kapsuser, Kapsoit, Nyagacho and Majengo for Sh97.7 million.

During the year under review, Sh67.9 million was paid to the contractor. The work was to be completed by May 12, 2021.

However, inspection by the auditors in August 2022 backfilling and installation of drains in Kapsuser was incomplete.

Backfilling and drainage works in Nyagacho had also not been completed.

The county government signed a Sh138.9 million contract on May 23, 2019 for the construction of a storm water facility in Kericho town for two years.

Modern markets

The contractor was paid Sh42.4 million but verification by auditors in August 2022 revealed that the work was behind schedule. The workmanship was also poor.

The firm requested for four extensions of the contract period.

“The management did not provide adequate explanation on the extensions. The French drains and backfilling of road shoulders had not been done,” the audit says.

Some Sh13 million was paid to a contractor in May 2019 for the purchase of a fire truck. However the truck had not been delivered by August 2022.

County officials cannot provide documents supporting payment made for the building of Sh43 million non-motorised transport in Wajir town and Sh35 million Soko Mjinga 2-Soko County road.

The audit shows that payment to one contractor was not supported with a summary of work done and bill of quantity extract showing the works paid for. The contract agreements for the two projects does not indicate completion dates.

Project managers did not prepare status reports, meaning it was not possible to confirm if the payments were commensurate with the work carried out

The contractor for the Soko Mjinga 2-Soko access road was not on site at the time of inspection.

Homa Bay County government hired a contractor for Sh44.4 million on May 12, 2021 to upgrading to bitumen standards the Tom Mboya University-Junction link road for one year. About Sh34.6 million was paid for the work.

But audit inspection in July 2022 showed that work had not been done despite the lapse of the contract period.

“No reason was provided for the delay in completion of the works,” the report says.

Improvement of the Sh49.3 million Longisa town roads to bitumen standards in Bomet County is uncertain.

The contract period has contradicting durations of completion. The signed contract indicates six months while the progress reports shows 10.

The contradiction goes against the 2020 Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Regulations.

In Garissa, the upgrading of Galbet town road at Sh81.83 million is flagged as irregular.

The contract was awarded in the 2019/20 fiscal year. A total of Sh73.42 million has been paid to the contractor.

Included in the payment is Sh15.04 million on culvert and drainage works which was originally tendered for Sh11.4 million, leading to unsupported overpayment of Sh3.64 million.

The audit notes that verification on August 1, 2022 showed that the drainage work was poorly done and some culverts were not functional and not in use.

In Migori County, the Sh55.8 million Awendo municipality phase III, Sh42.8 million Rongo municipality phase II and Sh34.8 million Ombo modern market phase III projects have been flagged.

The six-month Awendo project that was to end on June 30, 2022, entailed building a modern market, washrooms, cabro paving of paths and landscaping.

However, verification in July, 2022 revealed that the project was about 60 per cent complete against the actual time lapse of 90 per cent. No request for extension of works was provided.

The Rongo project was to run for six months ending June 30, 2022. The report says the signed tender form was not provided for audit and that there was no evidence of performance bond or bid security by the contractor as demanded by the law.

Also not provided for verification were the signed bills of quantities and conditions of the contract.

Branded solar-powered street lights were installed where the county government had previously installed the same.

The Ombo market project entailed constructing, fabricating and erecting steel towers and water tanks, an underground tank and associated works, floodlights and supply of stackable heavy-duty steel skip.

The six-month contract started on January 17, 2022. Just like the Rongo project, the signed form of tender was not provided for audit and there was no evidence of the performance bond or bid security by the company.

The signed bills of quantities and conditions of the contract were not provided for audit.

Despite the completion of the project in June 2022, the market was not in operation at the time of audit and no explanation was provided.

Delays have been registered in the Sh82.9 million upgrading of Public Works offices and the CDF Offices-Nyamira Hospital Junction road. By the time of the audit, the contractor was not on site.

The Sh104.4 million upgrading of Borabu Inn-Nyabite Market Road Phase I risks stalling after the contractor cited late payment as part of the reasons for the delay in completion.

Baringo County spent Sh56.6 million for the construction of Anyiny-Jua Kali road, municipal market and a recreational park.

The contract was signed on December 20, 2021 and by the time it was expiring on July 20, 2022, work was at 40 percent.

Verification in July 2022 of the Sh50.6 million Daraja Mbili-Elimu Umoja road and augmentation of Huduma Centre-Kisii Hotel drain and associated works revealed that the project was approximately 56 percent complete with Sh12.3 million paid to the contractor.

The Sh48.2 million rehabilitation of county offices, roads, construction of toilets, garbage receptacles, parking and walkway and installation of solar street lighting in Taita Taveta County has stalled. Some Sh40.2 million was paid to the contractor.