Members of the National Assembly Public Investments Committee on Commercial Affairs and Energy have given the management of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) two weeks to produce evidence backing payment of salaries suspected to have been made irregularly during the 2019/2020 Financial Year.
A report by the Office of the Auditor General had suspected irregular payments totaling Kshs. 2 million in salaries in the Financial Year.
The Auditor General also flagged some Kshs.54 million paid as allowances by the Ports Authority in the same year.
As per the report, the allowances were in excess of normal working hour rates as indicated in the Authority’s management system.
In a session on Thursday, Committee Chairperson David Pkosing directed the Members to prioritize a probe into the payments.
Pkosing also asked KPA Managing Director Captain William Ruto to furnish the Committee with evidence including the names of the persons paid, and records of their working hours.
“This is no small money. You also need to explain to this Committee why these payments of allowances are this high,” said Pkosing.
At the time, members of the committee agreed to adjourn for two hours to give the KPA team time to produce the requested documents.
KPA fails to provide evidence
However, they failed to produce the sought evidence after the lapse of the two-hour window.
In turn, the legislators resolved that the KPA team takes two weeks to put their house in order and appear before the Committee at a sitting in Nairobi.
Other ongoing investigations into the accounts of the Kenya Ports Authority include suspected undercharging of storage revenues to a tune of Kshs6.2 million in the same (2o19/2020) Financial Year.
In addition, the Office of the Auditor General reported that KPA could not account for the accuracy and validity of the license fee of Kshs92.6 million collected for the year ended 30 June, 2020.
Captain William Ruto took over the management of KPA in 2023 after a long-standing career in the maritime field.
Despite its significance to Kenya’s economy, the Authority has over the years grappled with challenges including corruption and financial constraints affecting efficiency in its operations.
However, cases of unaccounted for or irregular payment of salaries are not a preserve of KPA as several other government parastatals and institutions have in the past landed in the bad books of the Auditor General for the same.
A report by Public Service Commission (PSC) covering the 2022/2023 financial year, showed that some 19,467 additional employees in different government agencies earned salaries against the approved staffing levels.
Among the flagged institutions were State House and the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) Limited which had an excess of over 100 members each.