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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 12 April 2015

EACC investigates corruption at Vihiga county

Calls by residents of Vihiga county inviting the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission to investigate corruption there has now taken off after detectives demanded for documents of tenders, employment, purchases and employment by the executive and the county assembly.
The future of the embattled Vihiga county clerk Josphat Musambayi whose name features prominently in mega scams including sex related scandals and tender awards hangs in balance. An umbrella organisation of civil society in Vihiga county has petitioned the county assembly to suspend him until he is cleared of any wrong doing.
The petitioners Maurice Umwamu, Stephen Buleemi, Mark Haji, Sammy Mugita, Doris Anjawa, Jaisyline Ndagadwa, Ken Anusu and Evan Lihinda argued that since the allegations Musambayi is facing happened when he was the clerk of county council of Vihiga and the matter is now before court, he should step aside or be suspended to uphold the integrity of the office he holds.
EACC will be looking at the changed lifestyles of MCAs hardly two years in office as part of ascertaining possible unethical conduct under the ethics and leadership code, especially dethroned assembly leaders.
The axe finally fell on him after he appeared before a Kakamega court where he was charged with conspiracy. Musambayi allegedly forged documents to defraud land from a dead person.
The charge sheet reads: “On diverse dates between July 12 2012 and November 28 2012 at Kakamega district in Kakamega county within the Republic of Kenya jointly with others not before the court, conspired with intent to defraud land parcel number Isukha/Shirere/1750 in the names of Joshua Liyayi Aliela (deceased) by way of land transfer  to Josephat Alusiola Musambayi, knowing that the said proprietor Joshua Liyayi was deceased and unable to effect transfer”.
He is also charged with making a false document contrary to Section 357 (a) of the Penal Code. He without lawful authority or excuse made a Kenya Revenue Authority taxpayer registration certificate purporting it to be a tax payer pin certificate for Joshua Liyayi issued under the authority of KRA. He is also charged with attempt to deceive or defraud knowingly uttering KRA taxpayer registration certificate number 6432333 to the district lands registrar of Kakamega John Fundia which had been made by Josephat without lawful authority. The witnesses in the case are PC Biwott and Martina Okumu.
 Musambayi’s warrant of arrest was issued on March 19.   He was arrested at the assembly by CID officers and taken to Kakamega Police Station.  Musambayi has denied the charges and was freed on Sh200,000 bond. The case will be heard on June 3.
There have been claims of misuse of the county vehicles and this prompted an MCA on March 26 2015 to demand for a statement from the majority leader.
The embattled clerk replied through an internal memo dated April 2 2015 (Ref.VCA/ADM/LEG/16/1 VOL.I/105) addressed to the majority leader and copied to the speaker and chairman of the county assembly service board.
The memo reads: “Following a statement sought on the floor of the house on March 26 2015 by a member of this county assembly concerning the county assembly vehicles, I wish to clarify that the following are county assembly’s vehicles”.
According to the memo, the county assembly owns a KBY 189C (Nissan-General), KBY 028C (clerk’s), KBU 748T (speaker’s), KAW 804Z (borrowed from the county government), KAM 086T (borrowed from the county government) and KBZ 995D (new) awaiting the following to be delivered- payments of Sh2.8m still pending for clearance, government inspection report, insurance cover and dealers clearance and release (Toyota Kenya).
Apart from the land case fraud, the EACC is also said to be investigating a number of corruption allegations where the county government is said to have lost millions of shillings.
Also under investigations is an allegations that a row at one time erupted among members of the county assembly MCAs after sharing of allowances amounting to Sh205,000 during Miss Tourism competitions.
Three MCAs are being accused by the county assembly of allegedly faking signatures and identity card numbers of other MCAs and taking the money. The money was to be shared among the 41 MCAs on September 20 2014 to attend the event held at Sosa Cottages in Hamisi sub county. The 41 members included the 39 MCAs, speaker Dan Chitwa and Musambayi. Each of them was to get Sh5,000.
In other investigations, the EACC has launched investigations into Sh150m financial improprieties involving procurement queries at the Vihiga county assembly. EACC has written to Musambayi seeking documents to aid in the probe. The building of the county assembly and renting of other structures is at the centre of investigation.
Musambayi has also perfected the art of paying ghost workers and is alleged to have even employed two Ugandans to work at the assembly.
The EACC in a letter dated January 21 2015 addressed to county assembly clerk (Ref.EACC.KSM.6/15/1(8) signed by Joseph Gito for the CEO of EACC demanded for several documents and information held by the county assembly.
The letter reads in part “The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating allegations of improprieties in the county assembly of Vihiga involving procurement of the following”.
According to the letter, some of the tenders that EACC is currently investigating are procurement of security services  during the financial year 2013/2014, renovation of the county assembly   premises during the financial year 2014/2015, construction of assembly complex, refurbishment of a building at the assembly premises in June 2013, procurement of hotel services during the financial year 2014/2015 and procurement of rooms from neighbouring schools while the county assembly premises were being renovated.
The letter further reads: “to facilitate our investigations, kindly provide us with certified copies of the under listed documents for the financial years 2013/2014 and 2014/2015. Tender documents, tender advertisements, tender opening register, minutes of tender committee, minutes of the tender evaluation committee, notification letters to bidders and payment vouchers”.
In another letter dated February 3 2015 (EACC.KSM.6/15/4/1(11) addressed to the county assembly clerk demanding for documents to help them carry out investigations over embezzlement of public funds  and abuse of office  at Vihiga assembly. 
The detectives in the letter demanded payment vouchers in respect to withdrawals and payments made vide the following cheque numbers 000122, 000115, 000112, 000106, 00014, 000029, 000085, 000091, 000083, 000126, 000034, 000097 and 000096.
They are also demanding to be furnished with payment voucher number 375 of Sh748,500, payment vouchers in respect to allowances paid to MCAs who attended the MCAs forum held at Flamingo Hotel in Mombasa in 2014 and bank statements  from July to May 31 2014 in relation to banks where withdrawals were made.
On February 10 2015, the EACC also wrote to the county assembly clerk (EACC.KSM.6/15/4/1(17) demanding for documents and information.
The documents demanded for this investigation are prequalified list of suppliers, quotations received, notification letters, minutes of the tender committee contract documents - LPO, LSO, contract, payment vouchers, budget estimates for the financial year 2013/2014 and bank statements for the period payment entry is made.
The EACC has also demanded documents in relation to the construction of county assembly complex. The demand is contained in a letter dated February 10 2015 (EACC.KSM.6/15/4/1(14)  and addressed to the county assembly clerk.
We have information,the embattled clerk made elected MCAs sign for Sh700000 payment  as a compromise. He uses it as threats and now, with UDF leaning MCAs future hanging in balance after  the party declared it will not clear them in 2017, Musambayi is in trouble.
 Further, the future of the MCAs hangs in balance with word, collection of signatures to recall them is being hatched.