, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 11 – Even as the country reels from shock over recent revelations of inflated costs within the central government, counties are attempting to outdo each other on spending.
Nyamira County Governor John Nyagarama was at pains to explain how the county spent Sh2.8 million to purchase milk, sugar and soft drinks among other consumables for office use.
The Senate Public Accounts Committee which is reviewing the Auditor General’s report for the 2013/14 financial year questioned how the county procured the services from a supplier who according to the AG was single-sourced which is contrary to the procurement law.
Committee chairman Boni Khalwale raised queries as it emerged that the county paid Sh300 for a kilogram of sugar as opposed to Sh120 while a carton of 12 milk packets usually costing Sh600 was inflated to Sh900 among other commodities yet the procuring entities insist they purchased them at wholesale prices.
“The same person you single sourced you start buying goods at inflated prices? I have no choice but to make a decision on punishment,” warned Khalwale.
Governor Nyagarama told the committees he was equally perturbed and would immediately investigate to ascertain the claims and if they were justified, those found culpable would be surcharged.
“I am also shocked that a kilo of sugar would cost Sh300 and I can’t believe it but I will verify,” he said.
The county’s procurement officer while acknowledging the mistake told the committee that she could not substantiate the inflated cost.
She also said the county had since put in the necessary structures and procedures to streamline procurement.
The committee has since resolved to invoke the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission to investigate the role of the County Secretary, the Internal Auditor and one George Maruti, the supplier of the goods in the Sh2.8 million deal.
Governor Nyagarama was also put to task to explain why the county opted for restrict tendering in procuring ambulances rather than open tender.
“The county bought five ambulances at Sh33 million. In the tender opening minutes, CMC was the lowest bidder on financial criteria but failed to meet technical specifications. Due to emergency necessity of having the ambulances, we went for restricted tendering,” stated Nyagarama.
“I want to congratulate the Governor for taking the bold step in procuring the ambulances. Other counties rent these vehicles which end up being costly. However, the procurement should have been done within the confines of the law,” Khalwale opined.
At the same time the committee also demanded that Sh1 million be recovered from an MCAs who took the money as imprest for rent.
Kennedy Nyamenu is said to have been given Sh1 million to pay rent on behalf of other members but however, the Nyamira County officials failed to table evidence showing how the rent was paid and their explanation was unsatisfactory.
“We are directing that the money be recovered by the County Government,” asserted Khalwale.