Wednesday, 8th May 2024
The House Committee on Public Accounts and Investments today scrutinized the Auditor-General’s report on the financial statements of the Executive wing of the County Government of Siaya for the fiscal year ending on 30th June, 2023.
Chaired by Yala Town MCA, Hon. William Kinyanyi, the Committee grilled the County Executive team led by Finance and Economic Planning CECM, Benedict Omollo, on the financial records for the Financial Year 2022/2023.
Of significant concern during the session, was the finding that the County government entered into a contract in 2020 with a company to construct a bus park in Siaya town at a contract sum of Kshs. 23,014,867. The project was expected to be complete by 22nd February, 2021. However, the project was terminated at the request of the contractor on 2nd June, 2023 after having been paid a total of Kshs. 17,582,978. Further scrutiny revealed that the remaining works costing Kshs. 5. 4 million together with new proposed works costing Kshs. 22,772,720 have since been tendered and awarded in order to make the bus park usable.
The CECM Finance and Economic Planning was hard-pressed to explain if value for money was realized on the initial expenditure.
‘How do you justify the substantial increase in project cost from the initial contract to the current total expenditure, especially considering the incomplete state of the project’, posed Hon. Kinyanyi.
‘How do you reconcile the discrepancy between the initial project cost, the funds disbursed to the contractor, and the subsequent awarding of a new contract at the same initial cost, ultimately resulting in a total expenditure of Ksh. 46,029,734 for the Siaya Bus project’, asked Central Sakwa MCA, Hon. Bismarck Olang’o.
In a rejoinder, the CECM informed the Committee that the initial contractor delayed in the execution of the contract and justified his delays on bad weather and inconsistent delivery of construction materials by his supplier. He further remarked that, ‘the value of the initial investment will be realized upon the works being completed.’
The Committee further questioned the CECM on how a payment of Kshs. 2.6 million for the construction of an ECDE block at Kirindo primary school was done by 30th June, 2023 despite site visit by the auditors in November 2023 revealing that the works had stalled and installation of steel windows, doors, floor screeding and tilling had not been started or completed.
But in an interesting twist, the CECM stated that works had been completed at the time of audit and the contractor requested for extension on 11th September, 2023, which was subsequently approved on 9th October, 2023.
When pressed further to explain on whether the payments were made in accordance with the progress of the construction works and terms of the contract, the CECM retorted that, “it is wrong that the payment was done before the completion works”.
The Committee also voiced concern over what it termed as a lack of commitment and seriousness from the County Executive Committee Members after only two of them appeared during today’s session despite receiving invites by 15th April, 2024.
‘This Committee takes great exception to the fact that a good number of County Executive Committee Members gave this important meeting a wide berth. CECMs should realize that we will be serious with them. We won’t hesitate to slap them with tough sanctions’, pronounced Hon. Kinyanyi.
He further accentuated the Committee’s commitment to ensuring the prudent use of public resources.
The Committee continues with the probe tomorrow.

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