NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14 – The Transition Authority has cautioned anyone who acquired public property or embezzled funds in counties that they face action once an audit is conducted.
Speaking during an interview on Thursday, the authority’s chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi said the law has set out stiff penalties for those who grab public property.
“Those people who tamper with public property can be charged in a court of law and we are saying that you can be put in for a period of seven years or fined Sh10 million,” he pointed out.
Wamwangi stated that a preliminary assets register for all 47 counties will be completed by March 20, which will pave way for an asset audit.
“We have collected data which we are analysing and it will help us to be able to declare that we have 47 asset registers for the counties and one asset register for the nation. There is a centre which has been established at the Auditor General’s office and staff allocated to it,” he said.
He indicated that all county governments will inherit both the assets and liabilities of previous local authorities.
“Thereafter, we want to go into a more involved exercise of asset audit, verification, management and it will coast up to Sh5 million and may take up to two years. We are capturing both assets and liabilities,” he revealed.
The Transitional Authority further said that all local authority workers will be absorbed by county governments once they begin operations.
Wamwangi explained that local government accounts would soon be closed and funds transferred to county units.
He said that the local governments were abolished on March 4 so workers are currently performing their duties on behalf of county governments.
“The governor may not be active but that does not mean that services should suffer. They (local authority staff) are employees so they continue to do what they know best,” he stated.
He stated that all money collected would also be banked in the new accounts as county funds.
Wamwangi explained that the counties would be reorganised into county governments under the Urban Areas and Cities Act.
The TA chairman also called on governors-elect to be reasonable and graciously accept offices allocated to them in whatever condition.
Wamwangi stated that in many towns, the authority had to take what was available as many buildings were in a poor condition.
He however stated that the offices are temporary and governors would be given funds to relocate or refurbish the premises.
“Some people came here and told us that in the whole of the town, there is not one single premise that can be used by the governor or the assembly. That is a bit ridiculous because there was nothing else and so we are asking people to let reason prevail,” he said.
According to plans by the Transition Authority, governors will initially have to work from local government offices within their counties.
“We wanted to give you the money we would have used to do such major capital projects so that you can build an office of your taste,” Wamwangi stated.