The Controller of Budget (COB) has instructed the 47 counties to provide records of their off-payroll payments, setting stage for a fresh standoff that is likely to delay disbursements to the devolved units.
Dr Margaret Nyakangó is demanding the full list of casual employees outside the Integrated Personnel Payroll Data (IPPD) system.
The list should come “with explanation” if the casual workers have been engaged for more than three months. She also wants counties to furnish her office with banking records for “multiple payments to individuals and suppliers”.
“The reason I asked for such details is to know why their staff are still being paid outside the official payroll,” she told the Business Daily by phone yesterday.
“Some counties are paying upwards of Sh20 million outside the official payroll. This of course introduces the risk of budget overruns as well as the risk of ghost workers.”
Governors have, however, reacted sharply to the quest to scrutinise their off-record bills. Chairman of Council of Governors (CoG), Wycliffe Oparanya, asked his colleagues to ignore the demands saying issues regarding auditing of expenditure at the country levels are not among roles of the COB.
“The request from your office on the provision of additional documentation to facilitate your approval of withdrawal of funds amounts to auditing. Further, the requisitions submitted to your office from counties have been cleared by the County Budget Coordinators resident in your office,” Mr Oparanya wrote in a letter to CoB dated February 10.
“I am advising the County Executive Committee Members in charge of Finance not to respond to these queries until this issue is resolved by your office in consultation with the CoG, which is mandated to handle matters of common interests to all counties.”
According to the Constitution, COB may decline to approve withdrawal from a public fund if satisfied that the transaction does not meet the threshold set by law.
The county governments expects to receive Sh316.5 billion as equitable share of revenue raised national as at the financial year 2019/2020, Sh22.9 billion as total conditional grants from the national government and Sh39.09 billion as total loans and grants.
However, the units have been accused of spending unrealistic amounts to salaries and wages.
According to COB report for the first quarter in financial year 2019/20, the total expenditure by county governments was Sh46.08 billion out of which Sh44.14 billion was recurrent expenditure was while development expenditure amounted to Sh1.94 billion.