Counties

Auditor flags 16 colleges wasting away in counties

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Auditor General Nancy Gathungu. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

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Summary

  • The auditor said the State Department for Vocational and Technical Training completed 16 learning institutions in 15 counties in the year to June 2020.
  • The auditor said value for money might not have been realised in the construction of the 16 TTIs.
  • The Auditor-General further cited poor workmanship that led to the collapse of some technical training institutes despite the government pumping huge sums of money into the projects.

Sixteen technical training institutions (TTIs) are wasting away across the country several years after completion of the projects, putting into sharp focus the disconnect between infrastructure spending and use.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu said taxpayers are losing Sh2 million annually on the 16 idle technical training institutions.

The auditor said the State Department for Vocational and Technical Training completed 16 learning institutions in 15 counties in the year to June 2020.

“The institutions, though completed, were not operational as at the time of the audit casting doubt on their viability and whether proper feasibility studies were conducted.

“In addition, the non-operational institutions continued to draw Sh2 million annually for operational costs from the government,” said Ms Gathungu in an audit of the State departments’ books of account.

The auditor said value for money might not have been realised in the construction of the 16 TTIs.

Ms Gathungu also raised the red flag on incomplete technical training institutes that are spread across the counties.

She said records maintained by the State Department for Vocational and Technical Training revealed that the construction of eight TTIs that started as early as June 2014 and which ought to have been completed within one year were still at varying stages of completion and no extension of contract periods had been granted.

“Although management attributed the delayed completion to various challenges, ranging from insecurity to disputes over land, completion of the projects was not achieved as at the time the audit was finalised and solutions for the challenges were not indicated,” Ms Gathungu said.

The Auditor-General further cited poor workmanship that led to the collapse of some technical training institutes despite the government pumping huge sums of money into the projects.

“The contract for the construction of Chepararia Technical Training Institute was awarded to a local contractor at a contract sum of Sh48,743,504.

“However, the building collapsed while under construction and after more than Sh26.7 million had been disbursed to the institution and paid to the contractor,” said Ms Gathungu.

She said the collapse was attributed to poor workmanship by the contractor who seemed not to have been familiar with the site and who is demanding a new site and bills of quantities, among other conditions to redo the works.

“The State Department had not taken any action against the contractor over five years after the collapse of the building and abandonment of the site by the contractor.

“An update of the situation was not provided for audit review,” said Ms Gathungu.

The audit further criticised the State Department for the cancellation of a Sh53.7 million contract for the construction of the proposed Kakrao Technical Training Institute.

The contract was terminated after the contractor had been paid Sh46.2 million.

Ms Gathungu said the proposed TTI was awarded at a contract sum of Sh53.7 million with the project scheduled to commence in November 2014 and be completed in November 2015.

“The contract was terminated on July 4, 2017. According to the termination letter, the contractor had already been paid Sh46,214,053 being 86 percent of the contract sum,” said the Auditor-General.

She said the level of completion at the time of termination was 73 percent and the contractor, therefore, ought to have been paid Sh33.8 million or 63 percent of the contract sum given the 10 percent portion requirement.

Ms Gathungu said the contractor was overpaid by Sh12.4 million which constitutes a loss of public funds.

“The incomplete institution with no learners was fitted with furniture and donor-funded equipment which are now subject to wear and tear without being used to any economical use,” she said.

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