The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) cannot account for millions of shillings spent without documentation, even as it overshot its budget by nearly Sh500 million, an audit report has revealed.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko says the integrity of the KFS’s financial statements is questionable given wide-ranging irregularities such as unauthorised sharing of bank accounts by top officials, unsupported payments and manipulation of numbers through the information technology (IT) system.
Mr Ouko says the KFS incurred an over-expenditure of Sh473.6 million in the financial year to June 2016, contrary to Section 12 of the State Corporations Act.
“In consequence, the service did not operate within its approved budget,” Mr Ouko says in the report, which exposes widespread shoddy accounting practices at the State agency. The KFS was established under an Act of Parliament “to provide for the development and sustainable management, including conservation and rational utilisation, of all forest resources for the socioeconomic development of the country and for connected purposes.”
The auditor further says the KFS did not make available supporting documents for payments amounting to Sh49.1 million on various expenditure items during the audit.
“Under the circumstances, the validity and propriety of the expenditure of Sh49,123,423 at June 30, 2016 cannot be ascertained,” he says.
Mr Ouko also questions the legality, validity and propriety of Sh2.6 million that the KFS paid casual labourers in the absence of documents to confirm that reconciliation of the expenditures and authorisation was done in accordance with the human resource procedures and regulations of the State agency. “…No evidence was provided on authority for employment through delegation,” he says in the qualified audit opinion.