County governments in the Western and Coast regions operated the highest number of illegal bank accounts during the first half of Financial year 2023/24 covering July 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023, a report by the Controller of Budget shows.
Titled County Governments Budget Implementation Review, the report highlights how the counties spent the allocated budget during the specified period and the challenges encountered.

COB Margaret Nyakang’o noted that county governments operated over 1,400 illegal bank accounts, making it difficulty for her office to track public expenditure.

According to Section 82 of the Public Finance Management (County Governments) Regulations, 2015, bank accounts belonging to county governments must be opened and maintained at the Central Bank of Kenya for accountability and transparency in their operations. The only exemption in the clause refers to when county governments open accounts used for small routine expenses within the organisation (petty cash imprest accounts).

“For avoidance of doubt, all county government bank accounts shall be opened at the Central Bank of Kenya except for imprest bank accounts for petty cash,” reads part of the regulations. In the report, Bungoma led with 321 illegal bank accounts followed by Migori (208), Kwale (165) and Nyandarua (88).

Counties in the Mt Kenya region such as Kiambu, Embu and Murang’a operated 52, 37 and 37 illegal accounts respectively. “The growing number of bank accounts operated by counties in commercial banks has made it more difficult for the Office of the Controller of Budget to track public expenditure,”

Data from Nairobi County was missing as the COB explained that the required information was not availed by the county government.

COB Nyakang’o advised the County Executive Committee members responsible for Finance to ensure compliance with the law by maintaining the accounts at the Central Bank of Kenya.

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