Lands ministry to establish internal ant-graft team

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has recommended to the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning to set up an internal Corruption Prevention Committee (CPC) to deal with the vice in the ministry.

The committee will comprise of heads of departments.  At the same time, the ministry is to establish integrity assurance officers who will assist the committee in corruption prevention strategies. The officers are to be trained by EACC.

The EACC report further divulged that the government loses billions of shillings in form of revenue as its assets, including unused cars, rot in parking yards, a new audit has revealed.

An audit by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission of systems, policies, procedures and practices of the Lands ministry shows loopholes lead to revenue leakages and lack of accountability. In one instance, a garage is owed KSh1,303,809 for a vehicle GK A 239Z, which has not been in use for 27 months.

The findings are contained in a report of an audit carried out between September 2016 and February last year. It highlighted the status of funds use by the ministry.

The report recommends radical measures to ministry’s systems, policies, procedures and practices.

It says there was no budgetary allocation for development — on construction and renovation of land registries. Personal emoluments for the month of March last year had been, however, exhausted.

“These are weaknesses occasioned by poor planning and budgetting, which may result in emergency procurement, delayed salaries, pending bills and delayed service delivery,” the report warns.

Registers for counter receipt books were not accounted for and this might have resulted in massive loss of revenue and misappropriation of funds. Counter receipt books register is used for issuance and control of receipt books by the National Treasury accountants at the Lands ministry headquarters and subcounty treasury field offices.

“At Ardhi House, some receipt books returned did not have accompanying collection control sheets, counterchecked totals by examination section and copies of miscellaneous receipts,” the report says.

In Kakamega county, for instance, the survey office had no record of miscellaneous receipt numbers 4524501 to 4525000 that had been issued. In Meru, receipt books serial numbers 4547501 to 4548000 and 4550001 to 4550500 were issued and used for revenue collection, but had not been signed in the countercheck receipt book register.

Land CS Farida Karoney, Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Munga’ro, EACC chairperson Eliud Wabukala, EACC CEO Halakhe Waqo and Land PS Nicholas Muraguri attended the launch of the report at Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nairobi. The audit team found Kiambu and Thika registries are full-fledged, but share one bank account.

This is against Public Finance Management Regulations 2015 that requires national government agencies drawing 75 per cent of their resources from the national exchequer account to have separate designated bank account. There were delays in banking of revenue, surrender to district treasuries and remittance to revenue collection accounts in most counties. At the Narok land registry, KSh1,443,880 was collected in October 2016, but only KSh1,213,900 was banked.

At the Kiambu registry, revenue collected and banked between January 2016 and April was KSh6,663,050, but this was not remitted to the revenue collection account maintained by the Central Bank. Between January and February 2014, KSh34,115,948 was collected from the departments of land and survey. However, KSh33,433,648 was banked and Sh682,300 balance withdrawn by a cashier as off-the-book lending was unaccounted-for.

The audit said there were delays in surrender of imprests — some dating back to February 2014. As at September 15, 2016, the outstanding imprests from ministry’s main account was KSh138,779,385.

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