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Economy

KMA faces audit queries on staff training abroad

Auditor-General Edward Ouko. file photo | nmg
Auditor-General Edward Ouko. file photo | nmg 

The Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) is on the spot for irregular payments to directors, overseas training and illegal recruitment of employees at a cost of Sh303 million in the year to June 2017.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko said the KMA management spent Sh23.7 million on a number of staff trainings abroad for courses that were locally available.

“Included in the training expenditure of Sh180.1 million are various trainings undertaken abroad at a cost of Sh23.7 million. However, audit examination of the courses revealed that they were locally available,” Mr Ouko said in a qualified audit opening.

Mr Ouko said KMA staff were trained in Tanzania, India, Zambia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Dubai, Swaziland and United Kingdom for courses such as ethics reforms, HIV/Aids workplace consulting, e-records training, which are locally available at Kenya School of Government, among others.

He said the foreign travels were not supported by evidence of clearance from the principal secretary of the parent ministry in line with the regulations.

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“In the circumstances, the propriety and regularity for the expenditure of Sh180.1 million for employee costs for the year ended June 30, 2017 could not be ascertained,” he said.

Mr Ouko questioned the travel allowance of Sh89.3 million, saying audit analysis revealed that the expenditure increased by Sh23.1 million.

“Further included in duty travel allowance of Sh89,330,791 is travel allowance  and air tickets expenditure amounting to Sh9,889,000 for staff of the ministry on foreign travels. Although the management indicated that the ministry requested for the support due to constraints, it was not clearly explained how the authority funded activities of another entity without a budget,” Mr Ouko said.

The Auditor-General termed the board pay of Sh57.3 million spent on 47 sittings, including 22 full board sittings and 25 committee sittings during the financial year as extravagant. This increased from Sh48.2 million for 30 sittings reported in the year 2015/16.

“This is an indication of extravagant use of public resources contrary to Article 232 (1)(b) of the Constitution of Kenya which provides that the values and principles of public service include efficient, effective and economic use of resources,” Mr Ouko said.

Mr Ouko said KMA employed 31 additional staff  contrary to human resources policies manual for public service that require that ministries and State departments to advertise all vacant posts in a manner that reaches the widest pool applicants.

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