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Mandera County MCAs faulted for spending over Sh 15 million on seminars in Dubai, Malaysia

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By: Hassan Yarrow 

MANDERA—The former Senator of Mandera County, Billow Kerrow has faulted members of the Mandera County Assembly (MCAs) for spending Sh 15.6 million on trips to Dubai and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia earlier this year. The figures were captured in a report by the Office of the Controller of Budget.

While reacting to the report, Kerrow questioned how “8 MCAs from Mandera County traveled to Dubai in February 2024 and spent a total of 7.9 million Kenyan shillings to attend a seminar at the Landmark Hotel.”

He continued: “Additionally, another 8 MCAs reportedly spent 7.7 million shillings to attend a separate seminar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the same time period.”

Mandera County is considered one of the poorest counties in Kenya, with high poverty and underdevelopment.

Kerrow pointed out that the 15.6 million shillings spent on these foreign trips “could have been used to pay school fees for 1,000 secondary school students in the county for an entire year.”

The reports of lavish spending by Mandera’s elected officials have sparked outrage among the locals, who are demanding “accountability and responsible use of public funds.”

“We call on the county government to investigate the matter thoroughly and take appropriate action against any officials found to have misused taxpayer money,” posted Abdi Osman on Facebook.

“What value did the seminars add to the county?” posed Mohamed Adow on X, formerly Twitter.

“It is unacceptable for our leaders to be enjoying such extravagant trips abroad when our people are suffering from lack of basic services and infrastructure,” said lFatuma Ahmed, a grocery store operator in Mandera town.

“This money could have made a real difference in the lives of Mandera’s youth and families,” she added.

We posted the matter to the County Assembly of Mandera for reaction. However, both the Clerck and the Speaker did not reply to our queries by the time of publishing this story.

In September, the office of the Controller of Budget’s review of the implementation of county budgets for the year 2022/2023 showed that counties continue to surpass the set limit of expenditure on wages and benefits for their personnel.

The report shows that in the year under review, counties spent 41.5% of the realised revenues of Ksh.466.01billion, a figure above the recommended 35% of total revenues.

Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o noted that only five counties managed to keep their personnel expenditure within the 35% ceiling, namely; Turkana, Tana River, Mandera, Kwale, and Samburu.

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