Members of county assemblies have been warned against flouting laws on procurement while making purchases in counties.
This follows revelation by reports from the office of the Auditor-General that counties were losing millions of shillings every year due to a disregard of basic procurement laws by the county assemblies.
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The revelations, which were made public bare during a meeting held by the County Public Accounts Committee of the Senate, put on the spot a number of county assemblies, including Laikipia and Kakamega Assemblies, where MCAs were accused of disregarding the Public Audit Act as well as the Public Finance Management Act in their dealings.
In Laikipia county for instance, the office of the Auditor-General said that the County Assembly of Laikipia made two payments of about Sh1.4 million to two hotels for conference facilities for MCAs and staff, despite them not being among the prequalified suppliers of the assembly during the Financial Year under review.
“The procurement process used to identify the hotels was not indicated or clarified. Therefore, it could not be confirmed whether the services were procured in accordance with the requirements of the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act, 2015,” said the Office of the Auditor General.
While considering the County Assembly’s response to the report for the Financial Year ended 30th June 2020, committee chairman Moses Kajwang and members of the Committee expressed their dismay with the response of the County Assembly.
The Assembly had argued that it had a framework contract with several hotels in different localities that allowed them to provide services to the assembly without going through the normal procurement process.
“You can share a prequalified list of prequalified suppliers with the Executive and other government entities. That is allowed in the procurement law. But when you write to us that prequalification doesn’t apply to hotels, we cannot accept your response,” Senator Kajwang’ said.
“The law is very clear. You deliberately broke the law. These are the things that make us feel sad because you’re defiling devolution,” Senator Onyonka added.
In Kakamega county, MCAs were cautioned against flouting the provisions of the Public Audit Act and the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act.
The Committee further directed the County Assembly Service of Kakamega to heighten awareness campaigns among MCAs on the provisions of the two Acts, with a special emphasis on imprest management.
Moreover, the Committee also directed that a copy of this directive be submitted to the Senate for confirmation.