CA orders audit of allowance payouts, suspends senior staff

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has suspended two senior executives and ordered a fresh forensic audit into the entire financial dealings of the cash-rich government regulatory agency.

The move comes days after an internal report revealed that senior executives spent S07 million on travel allowances.

The telecoms regulator has sent finance director Peris Nkonge and human resource director Juma Kandie on compulsory leave for purportedly refusing to provide information to the CA board audit committee.

CA director-general Francis Wangusi on Tuesday said the two suspended directors will stay out until a new audit, to be carried out by an external party, is finished.

“The two members of staff have been sent on compulsory leave until the forensic audit is done. They were implicated for refusing information to the board audit committee,” said Mr Wangusi in an interview in his office.

“I have asked for a forensic audit. We have started the procurement process. The request for proposals will be sent out by end of the week,” he said.

Mr Wangusi said the external auditor will give an “independent” picture of the authority, saying there was “malice” in the report authored by the six-member board audit committee.

READ: Globe-trotting CA executives pocket S07m in one year

He said he expects the forensic audit to be completed as soon as possible. The decision to hire an independent audit firm had already been made by the audit sub-committee at a meeting held on September 14, 2015 which also adopted the report on per diem expenditure.

Forensic and investigative accounting firms such as Deloitte and Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst and Young, KPMG, and Kroll are likely to battle it out for the lucrative tender to audit books at CA.

The damning report revealed that staff at the telecoms’ industry regulator last year made a total of 421 trips —both local and overseas— to attend conferences, training, field visits and workshops most of which were unaccounted for and deemed irrelevant.

Only 34 meeting reports out of the total were availed for audit, contrary to CA’s requirements that a report be submitted at the end of every travel, noted the auditors.

Mr Wangusi on Tuesday said a total of Sh134.1 million was spent on overseas travel allowances, with the rest going to local travel.

The exposè on travel allowances at CA comes nine months after a leaked internal report showed that board members had pocketed Sh11.9 million in sitting allowances in the five months to November and were yet to account for imprest amounting to Sh8.2 million.

On Tuesday, Mr Wangusi justified the trips saying they constituted training and global policy meetings.