Laikipia County Government has paid Sh77.5 million out of the Sh1.1 billion of pending bills inherited from the previous regime.
The county’s Finance minister, Murungi Ndai, trashed recent claims by local merchants that Laikipia owed them in excess of over Sh100 million of pending bills inherited from former Governor Joshua Irungu’s administration.
Speaking over the weekend, Ndai said the county will only honour payments of Sh77.5 million bills that were found payable following a comprehensive audit.
Ndai said that former National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich, through the Attorney-General’s office conducted an audit of pending bills in all 47 counties and that Laikipia was found to owe contractors only Sh77.5 million for completed tenders.
He said the Matengo and Associates, an audit firm, conducted an audit on the Sh1.1 billion pending bills but only found Sh77.5 million bills eligible for payment.
“We have so far paid out Sh77.5 million for contract works that were fully and satisfactorily completed and that is why we were listed among 16 counties that have cleared their pending bills,” Ndai said.
Further, the county finance boss said another Sh 250 million was awaiting payment once the concerned contractors complete their works and certificates of completion issued.
He said that an earlier audit by the county government revealed that Sh 500 million worth of tenders issued between 2013 to 2017 did not meet the threshold for payment as they lacked necessary documentation.
“In our audit conducted in 2017, half of the bills in the Sh1.1 billion were found out to be fictitious and therefore not eligible for payment. These bills had either missing, ineligible or questionable vouchers which made it impossible to pay,” Ndai said.
The minister said they are strictly adhering to the procurement guidelines to ensure no piling of pending bills that would lead to the suffering of Laikipia residents.
“We fail to understand when we hear people claiming that we owe them money yet when we check our records we realise the due procedure in awarding the same was not followed. This could only mean that they were involved in under dealing or were given work without following the right procurement laws,” he said.