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Economy

Sh8.7m down the drain in Kwale tree planting bid

Salim Mvurya
Kwale governor Salim Mvurya. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

An ambitious plan by Kwale governor Salim Mvurya to plant trees in 18 wards in his county failed, leading to a loss of Sh8.7 million which Auditor-General Edward Ouko has said cannot be accounted for.

Mr Ouko in his report for the year ended June 30, 2015, pointed out that there was no evidence of the exercise in the wards.

According to the report, the Sh8.7 million was part of Sh93 million that the county spent on purchase of certified seeds, breeding stock and live animals.

“An audit visit to various ward administration offices during the audit could not physically verify where the seedlings were planted. Under the circumstances, it has not been possible to confirm the propriety of Sh8.7 million spent on purchase of the tree seedlings for the year ended June 30, 2015,” says the Auditor in his report.

Appearing before the Senate Public Accounts Committee yesterday to respond to the audit queries raised by the Auditor in the report, governor Mvurya said the seedlings did not do well in nine wards in the county due to low amount of rainfall.

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The Governor told the committee chaired by Homa Bay senator Moses Kajwang’ that the tree planting programme covered 18 wards in the county but there was low survival rates of some seedlings due to low amount of rainfall.

“Sometimes you experience rainfall and think that it is the best time to plant, then the rain just disappears leading to low survival rates of the seedlings,” Mr Mvurya said.

The Governor told the committee that the county government is currently running the tree planting programme with various youth groups in the country.

Mr Kajwang’ said it might not be possible for senators to physically verify the tree planting programme and urged members of the Kwale County Assembly to check the status and progress of the activity.

Mr Ouko in his report also questioned the type of iron sheets that the county government used for the construction of a drug rehabilitation centre in Kwale, raising possibility of a loss of Sh450, 000.

“A project inspection on October 28, 2015 revealed that the roof covering was deep profile nailed to the timber purlins as per the bill of quantities. However the iron sheet gauge was 30 contrary to the requirement of the contract of gauge 28.Under the circumstances, the propriety of Sh450, 000 spent on the wrong roofing material could not be confirmed,” Mr Ouko says.

The governor told the senators that the mix up on the type of iron sheet used had so far been corrected.

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