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Kakamega County’s Governor Fernandes Barasa Faces Scrutiny Over Financial Mismanagement

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Fernandes Barasa

Under Governor Fernandes Barasa’s leadership, Kakamega County has come under intense scrutiny following revelations of severe financial mismanagement and inefficiencies.

A recent audit report highlights multiple instances of discrepancies, unsupported expenditures, and stalled projects, painting a grim picture of the county’s fiscal health.

Governor Fernandes Barasa

Fernandes Barasa Unable to Explain Inaccuracies in Bank Balances

The audit revealed significant inaccuracies in the county’s bank balances. The statement of assets and liabilities showed a bank balance of Kshs 208,000,170.

However, discrepancies in the reconciliation statements for June 2023 were glaring. Stale cheques amounting to Kshs 9,792,320 and unpresented cheques worth Kshs 9,265,335 were not properly accounted for.

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Moreover, payments totaling Kshs. 32,455,743 were recorded in the bank statements but not in the cash books.

Additionally, receipts of Kshs 973,859,956 were documented in the cash book but missing from the bank statements.

These inconsistencies cast serious doubt on the accuracy and completeness of the bank balances.

Unsupported Expenditures

The county’s statement of receipts and payments reflected a staggering Kshs 2,438,651,648 spent on goods and services.

However, Kshs. 694,318,407 of this amount, incurred by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, lacked the necessary payment vouchers and supporting documents.

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This lack of documentation raises questions about the legitimacy and transparency of these expenditures.

Unrecovered Imprests and Advances

Another troubling finding was the outstanding imprests and advances balance of Kshs 27,071,017.

The county management failed to maintain an imprest register detailing crucial information such as payee details, amounts issued, and due dates.

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These balances were due for recovery as of June 30, 2023, but no efforts were made to recover them. The absence of a proper record-keeping system undermines the accountability of the county’s financial management.

Fernandes Barasa Accumulated Pending Bills

Kakamega County’s financial statements revealed pending bills amounting to Kshs. 1,505,298,681. This amount includes Kshs. 1,277,690,723 in outstanding balances from as far back as 2016.

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The failure to settle these bills in the years they were incurred adversely affects subsequent budgets, as these pending bills become a first charge on future budget allocations.

This cycle of debt hampers the county’s ability to implement new projects and programs effectively.

Stalled and Delayed Projects

The county’s mismanagement is further highlighted by numerous stalled and delayed projects.

For instance, payments totaling Kshs. 3,018,041,182 were made for ten ongoing projects initiated between 2015 and 2022, yet these projects remain incomplete. This raises concerns about the value of these expenditures.

Specific projects such as the Emalokha (Firatsi) Water Supply, Butwehe Intake Works, and the Inyanya Water Supply Project were all found to be incomplete, with contractors abandoning the sites.

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Similarly, the construction of the Disaster Center Phase 2 and Bukhungu Stadium Phase II has been delayed, with significant amounts already paid out but little progress to show.

Non-Compliance and Internal Control Failures

The audit also highlighted non-compliance with legal requirements and poor internal controls. The county’s compensation for employees amounted to Kshs. 5,652,697,106, which is 43% of total revenue, exceeding the legal limit of 35%.

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Furthermore, 91% of the county’s 6,876 employees belong to the dominant ethnic community, violating the National Cohesion and Integration Act.

The use of a manual payroll system, through which Kshs. 105,212,238 was processed, is another area of concern.

This practice is prone to errors and goes against the requirement for an integrated payroll system, undermining the effectiveness of internal controls.

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Wrapping Up Fernandes Barasa Poor Governance

The audit report on Kakamega County under Governor Fernandes Barasa’s administration reveals a troubling picture of financial mismanagement and inefficiency.

Inaccurate bank balances, unsupported expenditures, unrecovered imprests, and a host of stalled projects point to systemic failures in governance and financial oversight.

The non-compliance with legal requirements and poor internal controls further exacerbate the situation, calling for urgent measures to restore accountability and transparency in the county’s financial management.

Governor Barasa and his administration must address these issues promptly to restore public trust and ensure that the county’s resources are used effectively and for the intended purposes.

The residents of Kakamega County deserve better stewardship of their public funds to achieve meaningful development and improve their quality of life.

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