, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 6 – Senators have raised concern over delays by new governors in paying pending bills inherited from previous administrations.
Members of the Senate County Public and Investment committee while grilling Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Mureithi were informed that the county inherited a whopping 1.2 billion in pending payments.
“It is a very large percentage Mr Chair, but we can confirm that some projects were ghost projects because we have like Sh710 million which cannot be accounted for and 150 invoices are also doubtful,” said Nderitu.
He further stated that the county has so far paid Sh200 million and the remaining Sh1 billion is still going through forensic audit.
“We have catered for like Sh200mn and we are not saying we will not pay for the remaining amount but honourable Senators we have to authenticate what we are paying for,” he said.
Additionally, he confirmed that the county has taken legal action to ensure anyone who was involved in projects that never materialized are brought to book, adding that four county officials have already been questioned and cases are ongoing in court.
The Committee Chair Moses Kajwang’ called for a meeting between Senators, Council of Governors and the National Treasury CS to discuss the inherited debts as it is alarming across the 47 counties.
“There is a bigger problem in our counties and it is high time we work with the Council of Governors and National Treasury Cabinet Secretary to try and bring this matter to an end otherwise we will not see development in our counties if this trend was to be tolerated,” Kajwang’ outlined.
Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi argued that the reason contractors and those given tenders are exaggerating costs is because county governments have always delayed their payments.
While echoing his sentiments, Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri urged the new governors to cater for their government’s expenditure to avoid burdening those who will occupy offices after their terms end.
“Now, governors will have to do something called business intelligence. Use your annual budget to develop counties and see how you can raise your revenue instead of leaving behind such huge amount of money when you exit office,” Ongeri advised.
The committee accused county governments of living beyond their means by making commitments more than their resources, observing that failure to meet local revenue target collections made the situation worse.
According to the Controller of Budget, all the counties across the country have a total of Sh99 billion pending bills.