Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has blamed the lacklustre performance of county assemblies to oversight the executive on lack of capacity and weak structures.
She said failure by the public accounts committees to effectively interrogate and take action on findings contained in audit reports from her office was worrying.
Ms Gathungu said that should the ward representatives have been doing their job properly, there would be no need for county executives to be summoned by the Senate in Nairobi to respond to audit queries.
She pledged her office would work closely with the county assemblies to improve their capacity and ensure funds allocated to the devolved units were not misappropriated.
“We are ready to provide support to public accounts committees in county assemblies and empower them to interrogate our reports objectively and keep the county executive in check so that we don’t waste time dwelling on the same issues,” said Ms Gathungu.
She spoke when she toured development projects in Kakamega County on Tuesday, a visit she said had been prompted by the need to forge good working relationships with the county assemblies to improve their oversight roles.
The Auditor General inspected the construction of the Kakamega Teaching and Referral Hospital and the ongoing second phase of Bukhungu stadium. She was accompanied by Kakamega Deputy Governor Prof Philip Kutima.
Ms Gathungu said members of county assemblies (MCAs) had not adequately acted on audit queries contained in reports prepared by her office and tabled in the assemblies, yet they were in a better position to closely monitor financial management and implementation of development projects.
The Auditor General asked county executives to cooperate with the oversight committees in the assemblies by honouring summons and responding to audit queries.
She added that incidents where members of the executive snub such summons frustrated efforts by county assemblies to investigate cases of graft.
Ms Gathungu said the delay in disbursement of funds to counties by the National Treasury had crippled the implementation of key development projects and impacted negatively on the delivery of services.
“Governors need to plan properly for implementation of development projects with financial challenges in their mind. Counties should not undertake huge development projects at ago when there is poor cash flow.
“What should happen is to have such projects implemented in phases to avoid stalling,” she said.
She stated that during her tour of counties she had noted challenges by the devolved units to implement flagship projects which were worth millions of shillings.
“Some projects have stalled for a period of six to seven years after counties pumped in millions of taxpayers’ money. This is due to poor planning,” she said.
“This is causing great concern to me because in such cases ordinary Kenyans do not get value for their money.”
She challenged residents to be vigilant and ensure public resources are well utilised.
“This is your money and where you feel that funds have not been spent well there is need for you to speak out about it. You need to be hawk-eyed and help fight corruption in the counties,” said Ms Gathungu.