Audit queries raise red flag over 19 ‘secret’ bank accounts linked to Embu County Gov’t

Audit queries raise red flag over 19 'secret' bank accounts linked to Embu County Gov't

A report has revealed how the Embu County Government operated 19 allegedly secret bank accounts, which are suspected to have been used to pilfer millions of public funds.

According to the report, the bank accounts had a total balance of Ksh. 518,995,353 with 56 Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) health facilities accounts also raising red flags.

The DANIDA accounts reportedly had a total balance of Ksh. 1,441,558.

On Wednesday, the Public Accounts and Investment Committee (PAIC) released their findings on the Auditor General’s report that probed financial statements for the Embu County Executive for the year ended June 30, 2017.

According to the Committee Chairman Philip Nzangi, the suspect accounts were opened and operated against Section 82 of the Public Finance Management Regulations (County Government) 2015.

He averred that the County Executive was in breach of the law as it had not explained any reasons for the anomaly.

The Committee also unearthed the existence of two revenue accounts at the Runyenjes Level Four Hospital.

They are apparently being operated by strangers since the said signatories were moved to other departments or counties.

Nzangi told the Assembly that the signatories had by the time of discovery of the secret accounts made various unexplained and unsupported withdrawals from the accounts amounting to Ksh 34,751,498 and Ksh 11,508,452.

He revealed that the committee established that one Mr. George Muthinji; the hospital administrator, was also the banking agent for the two bank accounts and his only duty accessing the financial statements.

A certificate of balances indicated that the two accounts: 0114148462201 and 0114148462200 had credit balances of Ksh 554,289.68 and Ksh 15,814,210.99 respectively as at July 24, 2019.

They were reportedly undeclared to the County Government.

The committee has called for forensic investigations into the operations of the two suspect account under Runyenjes District Hospital .

They are urging the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to prosecute those found culpable of misappropriation of public funds.

The Committee further recommended that the following people, who are still signatories to the suspect accounts, be investigated:

  • Ruth Wambui Ndirangu (former Health Accountant),
  • Anthony K. Mulu (former Medical Superintendent),
  • Edwin Rugendo (former County Director of Finance),
  • Anthony Mugendi (former Director for Health Administration)
  • Musalia K. Eric (former Health Accountant)

During the year under review, the County Executive is said to have transferred Kshs.25,700,000 from Embu County Treasury to Embu Youth Trust Fund account (0190264375530) at Equity Bank Embu branch.

Ksh.15,800,000 and Ksh.9,900,000 was transferred on November 9, 2016 and April 30, 2017 respectively.

However, although the Youth Trust Fund is an independent Fund Account which ought to have prepared separate Fund accounts, the respective Fund accounts were not made available for audit review as required by Section 116 (7) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2017 and Section 47 of the Public Audit Act, 2015 respectively.

The financial statements also reflects that Ksh. 170,517,265 was transferred to Embu County Education Support Fund Account Number 01141408639900 at Cooperative Bank Embu Branch in respect to scholarship and bursaries.

There was an unspent balance of Ksh. 10,821,866 in the account but no separate financial statements have been prepared and submitted for audit of the fund.

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