Public Accounts and Investment committee in the senate has implored the Ethic and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to fast track investigations into the sh51 million fraud in Kilifi and recover the cash.
The oversight committee led by Senator Sam Ongeri appealed to the EACC following the lamentations by the county government that the watch dog body was hampering the recovery of the money.
While appearing before the committee on Wednesday, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi told the panel that the commission has stalled the recovery of the cash after it obtained a court order that stopped negotiations.
Kingi said that all the firms that reportedly manipulated the financial system and wired county funds into their private accounts had agreed to refund the cash in a settlement that was reached outside the court.
EACC however, moved in to probe the fraud that involved over Sh59 million. Kingi also revealed that some Sh8.3 million had been recovered by the time the restraining orders were issued otherwise the entire amount would have been recovered.
Rogue businessmen and county officials gained access to the county’s bank accounts in 2016 after they manipulated the electronic money transfer system – Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS).
They allegedly stole passwords belonging to 10 officials, accessed the system and transferred the cash from the county’s account at the Central Bank of Kenya.
The fraud was flagged by Kilifi county’s internal auditor.
Eve Wachuka, the EACC liaison officer who is attached to the committee said the commission sought a stay order to freeze any negotiations and investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book.
Kingi told the commission that the admission by the firms and recovery of the cash would have strengthen the ongoing investigations only if the order would have been lifted.
Committee chairman Sam Ongeri directed the clerk to write to the commission to fasten the investigations and enable the county government recover the money.
In the 2017-18 audit report on the financial expenditure of the Kilifi county executive, Audit General flagged the loss but had different figures of the actual amount lost.
“The schedule availed for audit review revealed that the total amount of cash lost before recovery was Sh51.5 million, out of which an amount of Sh8.3 million was recovered leaving unaccountable loss of Sh43.2 million,” reads part of the report.
Governor Kingi maintains that the amount lost was Sh59 million and already Sh8.3 million has been recovered.
Kingi was unable to explain how irregular transfer of Sh105.3 out of Sh163.3 million from the retention bank account to the payment of salaries was made.
His explanation that the funds were channeled to pay staff salaries due to delays of exchequer by the finance ministry was not satisfactory.
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