The Council of Legal Education flouted several laws on procurement, compensation of staff and finance management leading to a possible loss of millions of funds at the institution.
The Office of the Auditor-General reports that the council failed to observe the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission guidelines, and the Public Finance Management Act, 2012, while discharging its duties.
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The report for the financial year ended June 30, 2021, says that the Council may have, as a result of these violations, paid contractors for work not done, breached the rights of its employees and awarded contracts to companies that had not been pre-qualified.
Similarly, a violation of the SRC guidelines also resulted in the underpayment of staff at the council, contrary to laws governing the compensation of employees in the public sector.
Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu says that one such violation occurred in procuring services for installing an enterprise resource planning system.
According to the report, the council had contracted a local company for the supply delivery, installation, and testing of software at a contract price of Sh6.4 million for 12 months.
The project commenced on January 13, 2020. However, an audit review in January 2022, one year after the expiry of the contract period, revealed that the contractor had been paid in full while the project was still in progress without proof of valid extension.
This was contrary to Section 68(2d) of the Public Finance Management Act 2012, which provides that in performing a function, an accounting officer shall ensure that all contracts entered into by the entity are lawful and complied with.
The report notes that the value for money on this project may not have been obtained in the circumstances—the delayed completion of an enterprise resource planning system.
Also, during the year under review, the council had not implemented E-procurement contrary to Executive Order No. 2 of 2018. Further, the council has used quick books for financial management and manual procurement systems.
Other violations also included irregular insurance expenditure. The report notes that the Council spent an amount of Sh729,997 on insurance expenses sought from five service providers in the financial year under review.
However, the service providers were not on the prequalified list contrary to Section (95)(3) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015, which states that a procurement entity shall invite tenders from only the approved persons pre-qualified.
Consequently, the council also underpaid house allowance to its employees contrary to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission guidelines.
“As disclosed, the statement of financial performance reflects employees’ costs of Sh94.5 million, out of which an amount of Sh11.2 million relates to house allowance paid to the council’s staff.
“However, it was observed that the staff members were paid house allowances which were below the recommended rates as per the Salaries and Remuneration Commission circular on review of allowances in the public sector,” the report noted.