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Economy

Controller of Budget defends Gachagua over Sh70m spending

From left: Nyeri governor Nderitu Gachagua, Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Kiraitu Murungi and  Agriculture, secretary Felix Koskei during the National Tea Conference at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi Oct 13. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
From left: Nyeri governor Nderitu Gachagua, Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Kiraitu Murungi and Agriculture, secretary Felix Koskei at a past event. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

Controller of Budget (CoB) Agnes Odhiambo has defended Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua over the spending of an extra Sh70 million in the year ending June 2016.

Mr Gachagua, who appeared before the Senate for the second day of an impeachment hearing, has been accused by Nyeri Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) of spending local revenue at source contrary to the law.

The County Government Budget Implementation Review Report prepared by Ms Odhiambo indicates that Nyeri utilised Sh615,143,048 in the first quarter of 2015/2016 against the Sh545,000,000 authorised by the CoB.

Ms Odhiambo, however, said the Sh70 million difference was as a result of discrepancies in financial transmission systems in use at the national and county governments.

“We realised the problem emerged as a result of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and the Internet Banking System (IBS),” she told the Senate plenary. Ms Odhiambo noted that the Sh70 million difference was an operations issue, which has since been fully explained and sorted out as it did not recur in subsequent quarters.

Siaya senator James Orengo sought to know whether CoB reports should be relied on going forward, to which Ms Odhiambo advised that the systems be synchronised.

When he appeared on the witness stand, Auditor-General Edward Ouko was put to task to explain why Mr Gachagua had not been asked to return Sh29 million used in renovating a privately owned building, which the county government had leased.

Breaching Act

“The essence of us doing an audit is not to hang anyone. That job is left for you (senators). My job is to provide adequate information so that you carry out your mandate effectively,” Mr Ouko said.

The MCAs have accused Mr Gachagua of breaching the Public Procurement and Disposal Act by issuing county government tenders in procurement of Karson House building, which he went ahead to renovate.

Mr Gachagua’s lawyer, Peter Wanyama, told the sitting that the MCAs did not have sufficient ground for proposing impeachment of the county boss since he had not interfered with the procurement process.

“There is no evidence that the governor interfered with the procurement process of the building, which houses 21 county government offices,” he said.

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