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Former county officials on the spot over ‘missing’ Sh277 million liqour funds

Hesbon Agwena, a former director of the Nairobi County Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Board, is on the spot over unaccounted millions of shillings in the department during his tenure.

As per a report tabled in the County Assembly on June 27, 2023, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Mwaura Chege (Ngara Ward MCA) has asked both the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate three individuals for allegedly misappropriating public funds to the tune of Sh209 million.

The committee is investigating the Auditor General’s report, which contained details of cash flows for the year ended 30 June 2020.

The Auditor General report indicates receipts and payments received totalled Sh427, 267,499 million but payments totalling Sh277, 304,402 were not accounted for.

However, supporting documents such as receipt books, cash books, payment vouchers, ledgers and supporting schedules were missing during the audit.

Upon completion of its investigation, the committee has asked the DCI to also investigate former Liquor Board Director and former Nairobi Trade Cabinet Executive Committee (CEC) member Mr Allan Igambi, former Trade Chief Officer and County Secretary Dr Jairus Musumba, former Trade Chief Officer Mr Mohamed Sahal and former Liquor Board Accountant Mr Julius Matekwa.

During its investigations, the committee found out that unsupported vouchers totalling Sh96, 586,552 were not provided by the implicated persons during their tenure in office.

These included Sh58 million for workshop allowances, Sh35 million for monthly allowances, and Sh3.5 million for monthly sitting allowances.

“The committee recommends the DCI and EACC takes action to recover Sh96, 586,552 from Mr Allan Igambi, Dr Jairus Musumba, Mr Mohamed Sahal, Mr Hesbon Agwena, Mr Julius Matekwa, and same be apportioned according to the vouchers authorized by each officer during their tenure in office,” part of the recommendation from the committee reads.

The committee also stated that during its investigations, the goods and services provided during the period under review totalling Sh28, 147,580 could not be verified.

The management of the fund failed to provide supporting documents such as an approved procurement plan, receipt vouchers and issue vouchers for the payment of the said goods.

Also, the PAC team found out that the board irregularly spent Sh777, 071 on hospital bill expenditures.

The board also carried out unauthorised payments totalling Sh77, 684,054 which were paid for procurement of various services and goods, and approved by unauthorized officers.

During the investigation, the board irregularly spent Sh6, 110,126 on air tickets to a company called Affordable Tours Limited, which was supposed to facilitate the travel of 30 members of Nairobi City County Sports Management Committee and rehabilitated Football Players to attend the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2019.

Also, the fund paid Sh15 million in respect of the supply of other various goods and services without any supporting documents.

“Similarly, the management of the fund paid an amount totalling Sh8 million to the Ministry of Trade whose justification and support was not provided for audit review.”

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