CA paid its directors Sh100,000 Christmas vouchers, says Ouko

 Francis Wangusi.
Communications Authority of Kenya director-general Francis Wangusi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) illegally paid its directors and members of the Universal Service Advisory Council Sh2.1 million in Christmas shopping, an audit of the agency’s books found.

Auditor General Edward Ouko says in a report to parliament that the payment was made without the approval of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) or the National Treasury.

The audit found that each director was paid Sh100,000 in Christmas shopping vouchers totalling Sh1,200,000 while members of the Universal Service Advisory Council took home vouchers worth Sh900,000.

“This was done contrary to provisions of the National Treasury circular dated November 24, 2004. Guidelines on terms and conditions of service. Annex IV paragraph (i) at page 42 of the said circular provides that any other benefits that are not provided for in annex IV do not apply,” the audit report says.

The report concludes that the management acted “in breach of the law and hence the propriety of expenditure totaling Sh2,100,000 for the year ended June 30, 2017 could not be confirmed and was not a proper charge to public resources.”

Mr Ouko also flagged irregular disposal of MacBook laptops and iPads to directors. The audit found that the CA’s assets, including MacBook laptops and iPads held by former directors were un-procedurally disposed of to the individual directors.

“The nine MacBook laptops with net value of Sh466,551, nine iPads with net value of Sh160,515, 10 iPads with net book value of Sh200 and 14 laptops with net book value of Sh280 all totalling to Sh627,553 were offset with directors’ fees due to the former directors,” the report says.

“The offsetting of the said assets was done contrary to Section 164(3) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015 which states that there shall be a technical report where appropriate by a relevant expert of the subject items for disposal that takes into account the real market price and in doing so, the technical expert shall set up a reserve price, which shall be the minimum acceptable price below real market value of the boarded items,” Mr Ouko says in a qualified audit report that Leader of Majority Aden Duale submitted to Parliament.

Mr Ouko further questions excessive procurement of brochures worth Sh12.3 million that he found lying in store at the time of the audit.

“A physical visit to the store one year later in December 2017 revealed that a total of 139,250 child online brochures worth Sh12,323,625 were still lying in store unutilised.

“In the circumstances, it has not been possible to confirm the propriety of the expenditure totalling Sh13,862,670 for the year ended June 30, 2017 and that the authority was in breach of the law,” Mr Ouko said.