Tuesday,9th May, 2024
The House Committee on Public Accounts and Investments entered day two of review of audit queries on the financial statements of the Executive wing of the County Government of Siaya for the fiscal year ending on 30th June, 2023.
During the examination stemming from the Report of the Auditor- General, the CECM Finance and Economic Planning, Benedict Omollo, was once again put on the spot over voided transactions and inaccuracies on insurance payments during the period under review.
In a session chaired by Yala Town MCA, Hon. William Kinyanyi, the committee noted that an analysis of the IFMIS system payments indicated that 1,103 transactions of Kshs. 874,756,305 were voided during the year under review. The voided transactions were not approved by the Controller of Budget.
A further assessment of the payment details revealed that two transactions amounting to Kshs. 15,914,003 were paid but the specific line items had not been budgeted for in the respective appropriation accounts.
On the voided transactions, the CECM Finance stated that, ‘we voided the transactions pursuant to closure of financial year circular issued by the national treasury.’
When queried on the transactions amounting to Kshs. 15,914,003 that were paid for items not budgeted for, the CECM was at pains to disclose the nature of the expenditures and why they were processed without proper budgetary authorization.
When pushed further, he told the committee that, ‘we do recognize this transaction, but are not certain of the details. Allow us to dig deeper on this.’
The retort prompted the Committee Chair to state that, “in view of your inability to explicitly showcase the nature of this expenditure paid by your office, this Committee is going to ask the necessary investigative bodies like the EACC and the DCI to take up this matter, because it is very clear that money was lost here.”
A further review of the Auditor General’s records revealed that the County Executive of Siaya entered into a contract for provision of comprehensive medical insurance, group life and last expense cover at a renewable premium of Kshs. 175,044,059. However, the total payments made as premium in the payment schedule and vouchers provided for audit review was Kshs. 197,433,346. The amount paid was over and above the contracted premium by Kshs. 22,389,287.
“Can the CECM and his team provide a detailed breakdown of the additional premium payments made to NHIF beyond the contracted amount. Further, what were the reasons for overpaying the premiums,” probed Sidindi MCA, Hon. John Apodo.
In a rejoinder, Finance and Economic Planning Chief Officer, Jack Odinga, clarified that in the year 2022/2023, the County Executive resolved to pay health insurance for 2,127 Community Health Volunteers at a cost of Kshs. 12,762,000. He further stated that an amount of Kshs. 1,499, 619 was premium for additional fifteen members of staff; thus bringing the total amount to Kshs. 14,261,619.
This impelled Hon. Francis Otiato of Yimbo East to inquire further on the whereabouts of the remaining Kshs. 8,127,668.
In his response, the Chief Officer divulged that, ‘upon reconciliation, we found out that there was an over-payment of Kshs. 8 million to NHIF.’
He averred that, “if NHIF doesn’t give us a credit note, in our subsequent payments we will pay less 8million’.
The Committee found it puzzling that despite the management’s awareness of an anomaly in the reconciliation state at the conclusion of the 2022/23 Financial Year, they waited until April 29, 2024, to address the over-payment issue with NHIF, further raising questions about their handling of financial matters.
Moreover, it remained unclear to the Committee why despite identifying the over-payment during this period, the management proceeded to make payments totaling up to Kshs 100 million in November 2023.
The Committee is expected to continue with the probe next week.

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