Some 24 county governments have been unable to account for Sh140 billion that they received from the National Treasury. According to the Daily nation,this could be a signal of either the book-keeping nightmare that the devolved governments find themselves in or outright diversion of taxpayers’ money.

As a result, Auditor-General Edward Ouko was unable to render any opinion on the 24 counties. He has also issued an adverse report on two counties — Kirinyaga and Kakamega. In auditing, an adverse report is a red flag issued when an auditor finds so many anomalies that he lacks confidence in the financial health of an institution. It is the worst report an institution can get.

The auditor is usually unable to offer an opinion when he encounters numerous errors and where information is not made available to him, making it difficult for him to finish the audit.

The information about the missing billions is published in the official government website.

Besides the missing billions, Mr Ouko could also not ascertain the whereabouts of assets worth Sh26 billion in the 24 counties, which also owe suppliers more than Sh5 billion.

It now appears that almost half of the counties simply hid the books from him or were caught with double allocation of funds, a clever way to scheme cash out of county coffers.