Kenyans lose Sh1bn in ‘hot air’ payments to Prisons suppliers


Ms Zeinab Hussein, the Correctional Services Principal Secretary. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Taxpayers lost about Sh1 billion in fictitious payments to suppliers who were either overpaid or failed to supply goods and services to the Prisons Department.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard that the department paid Sh555.7 million to a number of suppliers whose payment vouchers at the stations revealed various irregularities, including failure to supply goods.

The department further overpaid Sh419 million to suppliers who delivered various goods and services to prison stations across the country.

Ms Zeinab Hussein, the Correctional Services Principal Secretary, told PAC that the irregular payments were part of the historical pending bills as at the end of June 2018.

“These are payments that date from June 2018 and backward to 2009. There might have been instances of overpayment or payment to individuals who did not supply anything,” Ms Hussein said.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu triggered the parliamentary probe after flagging the payments in her report.

Ms Gathungu said verification of the payment vouchers revealed that the prisons department also paid suppliers at its headquarters who were not known to the stations. It also paid suppliers who had never been contracted to supply rations in those stations.

Some of the stations received goods despite having not ordered for or received ration on the dates indicated in the delivery notes.

The audit indicates that seven prison stations book did not reflect orders or deliveries of the same while prison stations counter receipt book register (CRBR) did not have series of those counter receipt vouchers used.

“The issues raised by the auditor are grave. There is overpayment to genuine suppliers and payment to people who supplied hot air. There is a likely loss of Sh926 million. How were these payments made?” Opiyo Wandayi, who chairs PAC asked.

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale demanded a complete breakdown of names and amounts paid to suppliers who received Sh419 million in overpayment.

“We also want a list and names of those who received Sh555.7 million had irregularities including those paid for supplying air,” Mr Duale said.

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