, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has defended the county against what he says are biased claims about pending bills.
He says a group that purports to represent the welfare of Machakos contractors gave out false and malicious statements to a section of the media without seeking clarification from the county government.
This, he has said, was an elaborate scheme to depict Machakos in bad light and issued 10 facts about the county’s unpaid monies on behalf of the county, saying pending bills are not unique to the county.
“The national government, its agencies and all county governments have pending bills too. The pending bills accrued not because of reasons of Machakos County’s making. During the 2013/2014 financial year, which was the first year of devolution, devolved workers including health workers were paid by the national government up to April, 2014 as transitional negotiations on transfer and costing of functions were ongoing,” reads the first fact about the unpaid bills.
He adds that in April 2014, the National Treasury started deducting the over Sh900 million that it had used in paying health workers and other devolved staff in Machakos. These monies, he said, had been initially budgeted for other projects which had by the time been awarded and committed in Machakos’ books and projects already started.
In his second point, Mutua stated that deduction of the cash meant that the budget and earlier commitments were not supported by actual cash remittances hence the pending bills.
He adds that the National Treasury, during the same financial year, did not release Sh400million that been factored in the budget as donor funds aggravating the situation further. Additionally, the Governor said that the county has been systematically paying the bills that it accrued from those transitional problems.
“As per our records, the pending bills accruing to date are below Sh200 million and are for ongoing projects for community hospitals, markets, ECDE classrooms, drifts and culverts which will be paid upon completion and verification before December, 2015,” he explained in the statement.
“The claim that we have pending bills of Sh2 billion is therefore outrageous, malicious and only intended for political expediency. After all where did contractors who are hitherto competitors meet to compute this figure?” asked the Governor.
Thirdly, Mutua said that his government is aware that only about 34 purported contractors met and none are owed by Machakos over Sh10 million adding that simple arithmetic confirms that the figure was cooked up.
He also said that some of the purported contractors were politically instigated to cause a crisis and destabilise the government. This, he said, was especially because of the growing support of Maendeleo Chap Chap movement for Unity and Development.
“They are being influenced by very well-known political leaders who have nothing to show for the many years they have been in leadership,” he said.
The government also states that on September 21st, the entire Cabinet and Chief Officers met contractors to agree on efficient ways of working together. This led to the entry of a working formula suitable to the contractors and the government, by the relevant contracting department, Ministry of Finance and the contractors.
“It is therefore not true that they do not get audience.”
Mutua also said in the statement that Machakos pays for work done and respects value for money adding that as such, no works and or supplies will be paid for without auditing value for money and for physical presence of the project/supplies.
“No amount of political bickering will intimidate the government to bend the rules. We are protecting tax payers’ money,” the statement stressed.
He also addresses those who assumed devolution was a chance for them to do shoddy jobs and or loot public resources through cowboy contracts. He states that such behaviour will not be tolerated in his county.
Finally, the Governor said the Machakos Government has no contractual obligation with a welfare or an association of contractors adding that it will not engage amorphous groupings.
“We will only recognise owners and or representatives of companies working for us and not political groupings masquerading as welfare groups,” he concluded.