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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 6 April 2015


Citizen Weekly Reporter

Devolution, which came into effect in 2010 after the promulgation of the new constitution, was expected to transform the lives of Kenyans.
But three years after county governments came to place, most of Kenyans feel shortchanged as corruption and extravagance mar the running of county governments. There is no shame on how governors are stealing public resources left, right and centre, with some literary converting their counties into “family businesses”. Analysts have already expressed fears that if not contained, the ongoing corruption in the counties could kill devolution. Of the 47 counties, 14 of them have been implicated in massive corruption deals, where taxpayers have lost billions of money.
Indeed, majority leader Aden Duale told parliament that some governor’s names in the EACC list had been substituted with those of cabinet secretaries. Indeed, it is claimed some governors might have opted to use their juniors as sacrificial lambs. Classic example is Trans-Nzoia county. Last week, Mumo Matemu, the EACC chairman, told the media that the list had been manipulated, edited and may not have captured other corrupt leaders in the country.
He told the Senate: “This report had some errors and omissions. Some cases have been concluded and we owe those named an apology. We will clean it up as we did with the report given to the national assembly,” he said.
Sources at Integrity Centre says there are always infights between the commission and the secretariat on the sharing of the loot, usually gotten from corrupt people. Both organs allegedly seem to be having some special interests in some cases. This has crippled EACC in its quest to fight corruption. Now, a group of activists and lobby groups have threatened to make public the names of EACC officicials engaging in the dirty deals in a move aimed at “protecting their loot”.
In Wajir, the initial EACC list, dated September 5 2014 shows that investigations have commenced into the allegations of procurement irregularities, conflict of interest and misappropriation of public funds against the governor. EACC goes further to say that “it is alleged that the governor awarded several tenders to companies associated with himself and that implementation and management of other tenders have been irregular”.
Ironically, despite the corruption allegations being clearly linked to the governor, the EACC list on the left of the column lists county secretary and procurement officers, Abdullahi Sheikh and Mohamed Farah, respectively as the ones responsible.
Insiders at Integrity Centre say despite Wajir county being one of the first counties in the country to launch a scathing attack on the governor on claims of corruption that saw them send a petition to EACC, the Senate and the president, some forces within EACC sat on the shameful document.
“This anomaly has come to our attention. We have noticed that there were some games played between the governor and some senior officials in our office. We have rectified the mistake that would otherwise have brought technical and legal issues. I assure you the officers responsible will face the disciplinary penalties as stipulated by the law,” said a senior official at the EACC.
The full scale at which the Wajir governor has gone to have his name tidied is augmented by the conspicuous media gagging, camping in Nairobi to compromise oversight organs such as the controller of budgets office and meeting State House advisers to be shielded from the noose of the EACC.
The governor’s influence on media was recently witnessed when a story published in the Standard newspaper online version was silently deleted after the governor called Standard Media management.
The story, whose link was:
uploaded at 3.30pm on March 31 only for it to be deleted around 7.15pm. This is not the first time Standard Media has censored stories related to the Wajir county government corruption. Two editions ago, we published exclusive email exchanges between senior Standard Media editors, who had strategised to kill all stories touching on the governor’s misuse of county resources in exchange for advertising revenues.
This is part of the correspondences: A Wajir lobby group says the most commnon avenue of stealing public resources is through the inflation of project costs, usually fixed abnormally above market rates. Most of the tenders awarded, too, usually end up in the governor’s proxy firms. This administration, a resident told this paper in confidence, is one that believes in deception, clearing the accounts of the county and the hiring of officers from the Auditor-General’s office at his Hurlingham office to launder the county accounts for him and superimpose the same on Auditor General’s report as the genuine one.
In what seems to be going against procurement laws, it is habitual of the governor to cancel tenders that seem to have not been won by his allies. A case in point is the recently-announced supply of millions-worth of generators. The tender was opened up by the county boss himself, and upon realising that his interests would not be well served by the winner, he cancelled it. Indeed, a number of complaints have already been filed at the national procurement oversight authority’s offices in Nairobi.
In the financial year under consideration, the county government awarded contracts on capital projects amounting to over Sh350 million. Of this, Sh258 million worth of contracts were not properly executed contrary to the law. It is also noted that no proper evaluation was carried resulting to the awarding of contracts at prices way above the market rates.
It is on these massive cases of corruption and pilferage of public resources that recently, the Wajir county commissioner Fredrick Shisia warned that the rush for tenders in counties, crucially Wajir, threatened national security.
“Competition for contracts is a ticking time bomb and unless measures are taken, it could explode,” he said in the presence of the members of the Senate committee on devolved governments who paid him a courtesy call in his office.
Shisia told the committee, chaired by the Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen that the threats in the region are all about contracts. “They are about deals gone sour. The contracts are often issued on ethnic, clan, political and other sectarian considerations which are creating tension and insecurity,” said the county commissioner.
The sentiments of the commissioner seems to be exactly what the Wajir County Lobby Group has been complaining about, as stated in a petition to the Senate and the president, published in the Standard newspaper dated July 7 2014.

Alfred Mutua, Governor, Machakos County:
He is charged with irregular purchase of 14 Subaru cars for executives through single-sourcing. It is also alleged that the cars were not only overpriced but also older than allowed when purchasing government vehicles.

Cyprian Awiti, Governor, Homa Bay:
He is accused that Sh200 million was irregularly paid to an investor in the proposed Agro City Project without a feasibility study being conducted. This was allegedly a ploy to embezzle funds as the project stalled.

Josephat Nanok, Governor, Turkana County:
He faces charges with irregular payment of Sh14 million to a contractor by the county government for the construction of a bridge when no work was done.

Hassan Joho, Governor, Mombasa:
The Mombasa governor is accused of facilitating the grabbing of the Mwembe Tayari market by authorising the demolition of the original burnt structure ostensibly to flush out muggers, drug users and other criminals.

Amason Kingi, Governor, Kilifi:
He faces charges of irregularly procuring a governor’s house at Sh140 million without following procurement procedures.

Godana Doyo, Governor, Isiolo:
The Isiolo governor is accused of fraudulent and illegal documents purported to be supplementary appropriation budget at the county. There is an inquiry into irregular appointments and promotion of county officials.

Nathif Jama, Governor, Garissa:
He faces charges of hiring eight ambulances from the Kenya Red Cross at a monthly cost of Sh650,000 each. The hiring of a helicopter for Jama’s trip to Hulugho, Modogashe, Dadaab and Masalani is also under probe.

Ukur Yatani, Governor, Marsabit:
He is accused of office with regard to the purchase of vehicles and fencing by the county.
Ahmed Abdullahi Mohamad, Governor, Wajir County:
He is charged with the procurement irregularities, conflict of interest and misappropriation of public funds. Has awarded several tenders to companies associated with himself and that implementation and management of other tenders has been irregular.

Evans Kidero, Governor, Nairobi County:
He is accused with procurement irregularities in the signing of an MoU with Foton East Africa. It is alleged that his signing of a deal worth Sh4.6 billion to launch the Metro Transportation System was flawed. He also faces probe over Mumias Sugar Company.

Isaac Ruto, Governor, Bomet
Allegations of hiring ambulances from the Kenya Red Cross for Sh650,000 a month through single sourcing. He also faces allegations of accumulating immense wealth amounting to Sh700 million and a house in Ngong worth Sh33 million.

Samuel Tunai, Governor, Narok:
He faces allegations ranging from irregular procurements, mismanagement of county revenues, and nepotism, among many other allegations levelled against him and county officials.

Okoth Obado, Governor, Migori:
Allegations of various improprities in the county involving procurement and misuse of public funds; conflict of interest; worth Sh600 million.

Jack Ranguma, Governor, Kisumu County:
Allegations have it that in January 2014, he obtained Sh4.2 million from the county of Mombasa for training of 17 MCAs. Further claimed a firm associated with him owes the county government Sh8 million for billboards advertising.