Auditor General Edward Ouko has released a damning report on how ward reps in six counties spent millions of tax payers’ shillings.
The 2017/2018 audit report revealed how ward representatives have been wasting tax-payers’ monies by holding committee meetings and report writing retreats outside county assemblies.
At the Nakuru County Assembly, the auditor questioned the spending of Sh13.8 million to train 78 ward reps in Tanzania for courses that are available locally at a lower cost.
Ward reps also spent Sh9.9 million on report writing and committee sittings which the auditor says would have been saved had the same been done in the assembly.
Another Sh10.2 million cash payment and per diem facilitation to members was not included in the annual procurement plan.
In Baringo County, 45 ward reps spent Sh13.8 million to hold various meetings outside the county assembly.
The assembly was also put in the spot for irregular issuance of imprests to members and staff amounting to Sh29.2 million during the period under review.
In Samburu, the county assembly could not account for more than Sh8 million used by members for local travel.
The County Assembly Speaker was paid Sh426,832 in imprests for travel and subsistence allowances to attend to the World Travel Market Conference in the UK between November 7 and 15, 2017.
But the assembly failed to explain why the speaker was paid imprest for eight days instead of three.
The auditor further questioned the payment of Sh2 million to ward office managers’ personal bank accounts for which no supporting documents were provided for review.
The ward expenses included monthly rent of Sh10,000 per ward. However, the rent was wired to the ward office manager’s bank accounts instead of the landlords.
The assembly leadership also failed to account for Sh138 million advanced to ward representatives as loans. The audit also questioned an expenditure of Sh11 million issued to ward reps as imprests.
In Bomet, Sh44.3 million was spent to train ward reps without a training needs assessment report or approval from the training committee as required by law. Sh2.1 million that was used to hire conference training facilities although there was no list of attendants.
The audit further revealed that Sh163 million was irregularly withdrawn in the name of the county assembly.
In Kericho, the County Assembly spent Sh54,902,100 on 77 meetings away from the precincts of the assembly.
In Narok, Sh3 million was paid to a hotel for hosting a training for ward reps.
However, the ward reps did not attend some training sessions.
The ward reps also pocketed Sh500,000 in out-of-pocket allowances although they had been booked on full board.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.