City Hall on the spot over Sh6.9bn stalled projects


Nairobi Governor Anne Kananu. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG

Nairobi County government is on the spot over stalled and poorly done projects worth Sh6.9 billion.

While fingering the Ann Kananu-led administration, Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu pointed out that some of the projects had double issuance of tenders as well as variation of contracts.

She detailed the rot in an audit report for the financial year ended June 30, 2020, that was tabled before the Nairobi County Assembly last week and which the County Assembly is using to open investigations into the projects and contract awards.

The auditor’s report notes that roads, transport and public works totalling Sh4.67 billion were delayed as well as ward development projects valued about Sh418.6 million.

Sh1.8 billion worth of projects were either abandoned, suspended or terminated altogether during the fiscal period under review.

“No plausible explanations were provided by management for the unsatisfactory implementation of the projects,” said Ms Gathungu.

“In their incomplete state, the projects have not yielded the benefits expected of them in spite of public funds totalling Sh6.26 billion spent on their execution,” she added.

On Thursday, Nairobi County Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) began investigating road contractors and procurement officers over failure to deliver on projects despite payments.

The Wilfred Odalo-led committee said that examination of various reports revealed that projects with a combined Sh1.8 billion contract sum had stalled.

Implementation of development projects by City Hall, especially ward development projects, has been an area of conflict between City Hall and ward representatives (MCAs).

The representatives have on several occasions accused the Executive of taking them in circles since 2014 over the execution of ward-based projects which have stalled owing to delayed payments.

The impasse has often seen Nairobi residents miss out on such projects running into billions of shillings every financial year.

“This is a song we have been singing for the last five years. MCAs want to see ward-based projects being implemented and contractors paid,” said Minority Leader Michael Ogada.

With the advent of Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) in 2020, MCAs went ahead to move the projects from the office of the governor to NMS under the Directorate of Public Works.

Further, they created a special account, General Purpose Account, to be used to hold the Sh1.5 billion allocated for Nairobi’s 85 wards.

During the financial year under focus, City Hall had an annual budget of Sh36.98 billion for recurrent and development expenditure but spent only Sh24.38 billion.

This resulted in under-expenditure of Sh12.59 billion which translates to 34 percent of the total budget for the fiscal year.

“The significant under-absorption of the budget implied that execution of planned programmes and activities and service delivery to the residents of Nairobi in the year under review may have been constrained,” reads in part the report.

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