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County government suppliers and contractors will receive payments amounting to Sh51.2 billion after the Controller of Budget (CoB) cleared part of their pending bill claims.

Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo told Parliament on Tuesday she had written to the counties asking them to process the payments.

“We have already written to the counties asking them to pay all eligible pending bills in this financial year,” Mrs Odhiambo told the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee.

A recent audit of pending bills showed only those amounting to Sh51.2billion out of the Sh88.9 billion outstanding by June 2018 were eligible for payment.

The Treasury on October 30 asked Auditor-General Edward Ouko to carry out special audits of the pending bills, which had reportedly ballooned to Sh108 billion as at June 2018.

Counties presented to Mr Ouko pending bills amounting to Sh88.9 billion, highlighting a difference of Sh19 billion from what they had requested for payment authorisation by the Controller of Budget.

Mr Ouko told the Senate watchdog committee that the Treasury provided Sh240 million for the pending bills audit.

Auditors established that pending bills amounting to Sh37.7 billion were ineligible for payment because they lacked relevant documentation or evidence of work done was not made available.

Mr Ouko said that the special audit had saved taxpayers some Sh57.1 billion loss from irregular pending bill payments.

During his Madaraka Day address, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed State ministries, departments and agencies to settle all pending bills without audit queries by end of the financial year ended June 30.

The President urged the 47 county governments to follow suit, noting that unserviced payments negatively affect businesses.

Following the audit, Nairobi county government’s pending bill as at June 2018 stood at Sh11 billion, a Sh41 billion drop from the initial figure of Sh64 billion.

As at February 2019, the county owed its suppliers and contractors Sh10.8 billion, after clearing a Sh954 million bill.

First-term governors have heaped blame on their predecessors, accusing them of dishing out contracts at the tail end of their tenure, leaving the incoming county executives with huge pending bills.