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Senators blast Rasanga over Sh17m branding fee

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 00:00 |
Siaya Governor Cornell Rasanga when he appeared before Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee yesterday over the audited accounts of his county. Photo/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga was yesterday hard-pressed to explain how his government spent  Sh17 million on county branding  during the 2016/17 financial year.

It emerged that a local advertising company was paid 50 per cent of the contract sum of Sh17,655,000 by the county despite not rendering any service.

“We have no documents nor terms of reference to present before this committee because this company did not do any work,” Rasanga told  the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee when he appeared to answer audit queries.

“I request this committee to give me time to crack the whip on errant officials. I have already sacked and indicted some because of this.”

Committee members, however, did not buy into Rasanga’s explanation,  terming the expenditure fictitious.

Contract sum

“This contract is nothing but pure conmanship designed to siphon public resources,” said Committee chair Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay).

In his report, Auditor General Edward Ouko highlighted the payment  of sh42,146,170 for printing, advertising and information supplies services. This included the Sh8,827,600 paid to the said advertising firm on March 20, 2018 being 50 per cent of the contract sum.

According to the contract agreement, the firm was to be paid 30 per cent on the submission of a needs assessment report, communication strategy and media plan, and 50 per cent on  erection of billboards and a final 20 per cent upon successful completion of the final report.

“Although, the county government had obtained approvals from Kenya National Highways Authority to erect billboards subject to payment of Sh900,000 annual fee, there were no inspection and acceptance certificates to confirm those billboards were erected,” the audit report reads in part.

Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina questioned Rasanga’s leadership, saying were he an active leader, he would have known what was happening in all departments.

Out of touch

“You are perhaps being fed with inaccurate reports, but you are ultimately answerable as the CEO of the county,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi and Meru’s Mithika Lithuri, who were also persuaded the governor could be out of touch with the realities in his government.

The governor was also put to task over Sh351 million paid to county workers outside the payroll.

Ouko’s report had exposed that the county finance officers could not explain why the money was paid contrary to the laid down procedure.

“Were these ghost workers? Or who were they and why were they paid off the payroll. This is a fundamental matter that must be explained,” said Kajwang.

In his defence, Rasanga said the money was paid to casual workers who had been hired to collect garbage in the 30 wards in the county.

“The law allows us to only engage casual workers for three months. After that, there is a turn over,” he told the committee.

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