Business highlights – County officials demanding bribes for jobs and tenders, new report reveals

County officials demanding bribes for jobs and tenders, new report reveals

  • County officials are demanding bribes in exchange for services, an audit report shows.
  • The report has raised concerns about the positive impact of devolution.
  • On average, Kenyans pay Mombasa County officials Ksh11,611 to access public services.
  • Marsabit County officials ask for an average of Ksh6,500.
  • Wajir County Officials demand Sh5,515.
  • Nairobi County officials demand an average of Ksh3,124.

A report on the economic cost of the 2010 Constitution compiled by a team led by Auditor-General Edward Ouko shows citizens are asked to pay up to Sh11,611 for public services. Mombasa County officials top the list of bribe-seekers followed by Embu, Isiolo and Vihiga.

The report was compiled between August 2014 and September 2016. Embu and Isiolo workers asked for an average bribe of Sh11, 500 and Sh10, 000, respectively, says the study.

READ ALSO: Devolution CS Kiunjuri accused in bribery saga

Devolution, which took effect after the 2013 elections, is aimed at improving access to public services. Kenya has 47 counties headed by a governor, an elective post.

The report identifies employment as the area where bribe-taking was rife at 40 per cent followed by procurement at 32 per cent and award of educational bursaries at 10 per cent.

Kenyans unable to afford property loans despite lower interest rates

  • The recent capping of interest rates has failed to trigger an uptake of mortgages and ownership of land.
  • A new reort from real estate firm Hass Consult’s survey shows that property prices in Nairobi suburbs increased by a marginal 0.1 per centin the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • The rate marks the lowest growth rate for Nairobi’s property market in eight years.
  • The data implies that despite a recent capping of interest rates, a majority of Nairobi residents cannot afford to purchase land or property since prices are seen as prohibitive.

Hass Consult research and marketing manager Sakina Hassanali said the asking price for land in Nairobi increased by a marginal 0.8 per cent.

Ms Hassanali said the subdued performance can be attributed to the slow growth in credit as a result of the interest rate cap law which has failed to live up to market expectations.

READ ALSO: Average price of land in Nairobi now at Sh178million per acre as 2016 sets new high in property indices

She was speaking when the firm released its 2016 quarter four and annual Hass property index and Nairobi land price index. The index includes quarterly changes in asking and letting prices in Nairobi’s 18 suburbs and 14 satellite towns.

Uchumi stumbles on as retailer narrows pretax loss to Ksh2.67 billion

  • Troubled retailer, Uchumi Supermarkets has narrowed its pretax loss to Ksh2.67 billion for the year ended June 2016 from Ksh3.51 billion.
  • The retailer closed some outlets last year, and is selling assets like land, after it sunk into deep losses due to mismanagement.
  • Uchumi is also seeking fresh funds from shareholders who include the Kenyan government.
  • Several past Uchumi directors and executives are facing charges brought by the market regulator. Its results for the period were delayed for months over the scandal.

It has since emerged that the company’s net sales fell by half to Sh6.4 billion during the year, Uchumi said. The retailer said the narrower loss was caused by management interventions.

It did not offer specifics. KPMG Kenya, the auditor, issued a qualified opinion of the results, saying there was no audit evidence on property and equipment’s opening balances.

Last August, the government announced plans to revive Uchumi. At the time, State house spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the government was ready to inject Sh1.2 billion into the troubled retail chain once individuals accused of mismanaging Uchumi Supermarkets thereby contributing to its downfall were prosecuted.

READ ALSO: Reprieve for Uchumi consumers, suppliers as state announces plans to inject Sh1.2Bn into retail chain

In December, the National Treasury set aside a Sh500 million bailout package for Uchumi Supermarkets, representing yet another government-backed strategy to save the floundering retailer. Between 2006 and 2011, Uchumi was placed under statutory management due in part to a Sh956 million debt owed to various creditors.

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