The Kakamega County Governor Wycliffe Oparanya is busy loudly fighting for political supremacy not only in Kakamega County but also in the western Kenya region, but the Auditor General Edward Ouko has raised extremely damning questions about his leadership.
These are queries that may have dire consequences for the development of the county particularly on investments and investor confidence because of un-accounted billions of shillings.
The Governor who has been waging vicious verbal wars with the area Senator Bonny Khalwale who has since declared interest to challenge him is on the spot of massive financial irregularities in his county government that has forced the Auditor General to raise the red flag.
According to the Auditor General’s office, an adverse opinion under which Oparanya is snared is a red flag to investors and is always regarded as “the kiss of death” from an auditor which the worst indictment any public institution can be lumped into based on the AG’s findings.
The office of the Auditor General reports that the opinion came about because the two counties had failed to account for a cumulative total of Kshs.15.8 billion together with Kirinyaga’s governor Joseph Ndathi who is also facing the same indictment. Oparanya tied in popularity with Bungoma Ford Kenya Senator Moses Wetangula in a research conducted by the University of Nairobi in search of a Western Kenya Spokesman.
The two month research’s report commissioned by the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli unveiled and made public at Bukhungu stadium on December 31st, 2016 in the presence of Oparanya amongst many other dignitaries from the western Kenya region.
According to a story published in the Nation recently under the header ‘Auditor-General gives Kirinyaga and Kakamega ‘kiss of death’, Oparanya was found to be operating his county government finances without a county revenue fund account and the same time it emerged that all the revenue that the county had collected was not captured by IFMIS. This is the government’s financial management system.
Therefore this state of affairs the Auditor-General established that it resulted in the failure to capture of Kshs.8.5 billion, all of it taxpayers’ money.
“As a result, the Auditor-General could not vouch for the accuracy of the amounts posted in the county’s records,” says the Auditor General’s report.
It also documents that it found that Oparanya’s Kakamega County government had no assets register. Therefore it was difficult for the Auditor General’s officers to establish whether the assets worth Kshs 1.9 billion bought in the previous financial years actually existed or were merely ghosts manufactured by Oparanya’s County government.
The story does not stop there, since the other worse aspect of the findings is that the county did not disclose what had become of the assets it inherited from the Kakamega Municipal Council.
It was also discovered that the county operates a whooping 13 bank accounts for reasons best known to the Governor and his top officers in the finance department but has no bank reconciliation statements of the reported Kshs. 2.2 billion in the accounts.
To make matters worse still, some returns from eight out of 13 Sub-Counties indicated that they had a balance of Kshs150 million, which was not disclosed in the closing cash balance.
According to the Auditor General’s report the county was also caught making payments worth millions of shillings without posting them on the cash book and as a result, Kshs. 31 million remained unaccounted for.
The report further indicts that similarly entries of Kshs. 11 million posted on the cash book were not banked – meaning they could not be traced. As a result, the completeness of the Kshs. 2.5 billion listed as “cash and cash equivalents” — a reference to money in the bank and uncashed cheques — could not be ascertained.
The Oparanya’s Kakamega County government was also found to have disbursed Kshs.100 million to each of the wards numerous wards but the money was not accounted for.
This brings into serious question Oparanya’s leadership at the helm of the populous and largest county in the former western province and it is also worth noting that by the time we went to press Oparanya had remained loudly silent about this damning indictment.