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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Mystery of missing Sh91m in Trans Nzoia


The Trans Nzoia county assembly is pressing the county government to explain the whereabouts of Sh91 million meant for employing early childhood education teachers in the financial year 2013/2014. Debating on a report from the assembly’s chairman for  education Sam Mutuli, the MCAs who were astonished with the revelations now want  Governor Patrick Khaemba and his executive in charge of education, Isaac Kogo, to explain where the funds went since the  teachers were not employed.  Sikhendu ward MCA Andrew Kutitila said they will not pass the budget for the next financial year 2015/2016 if the county government will have not explained to the public the whereabouts of the funds as the teachers were not engaged by the county as was expected.
His sentiments were supported by all members of the house who pointed out the county’s own failures while other counties across the country had employed teachers already in the name of caretakers after Knut challenged the counties in court over the employment ECD teachers.
 Nabiswa ward MCA Joel Milimo said county the executive in charge of education and his chief officers should not look for excuses over the issue of employing caretakers as the name had been changed from ECD to care takers since Knut challenged counties. Angeline Too, the MCA for Kiptoror, said transparency and accountability was key in the management of public funds by the county government.
Other MCAs  who have demanded to know how the money was utilised  include Mathew Nyarango, Sam Njoroge, Francis Were, John Likovero, chairman for budget and appropriation committee David Kisaka, Teresa Masibo, Farid Mosseh, Munene Mukua, Benedine Omondi among others who said they will not pass the budget if the county government will not explain to the house on the expenditure.
They added that this time round, they will not summon the executives but they will go for the throttle of governor himself, whom they said he has become the sole decision maker in his cabinet, making the executive toothless without any say in the management affairs of the county.
 Mutuli’s report states that since the employment was challenged in the court by Knut, they resorted to change the name to caretakers who were supposed to be employed but nothing had been done since the assembly had allocated funds to kickstart the process.
The report further indicates that some parents with no good income have found it difficult to take their children to private schools due to high fee and therefore leading to many children shut out of school. Mutuli condemned procurement department for awarding tenders to contractors who were not able to complete ECD classrooms in the county saying that the house has decided to take the matter seriously.
 Efforts to get governor Khaemba’s comment did not bear fruits but his executive in charge of education Isaac Kogo said already, MCAs had failed the mathematics of Class One level. Kogo defended the governor and his docket saying the money that was allocated in his docket to employ ECD teachers in the financial year 2013/2014 as reported in the media by the  MCAs was not Sh91 million as MCAs  allege but it was Sh71million.
Kogo said since Knut challenged counties from employing ECD teachers the Sh71miliion meant for the process was returned to the county treasury and was allocated to other dockets as the law requires.
 Kogo told MCAs to investigate issues before jumping on Khaemba, saying the county government is preparing to employ 800 teachers by June or July using Sh120million. He told them not to make noise over the issue but wait and see how the county is going to employ caretakers soon. During the discussions in the house over the issue, MCAs pointed an accusing finger at the governor accusing him causing the county to lag behind. The MCAs further lambasted the county leadership for hiring people from Bungoma while sons and daughters of Trans Nzoia miss on the opportunities yet they have academic papers.
They vowed to unleash a list of shame of outsiders working in the county government as they take revenue to build Bungoma county instead of investing in Trans Nzoia.
Khaemba’s political adviser is from Bungoma and he is blamed for misadvising the governor on key issues. Kutitila who is the chairman for planning, said the executive in charge of land, Elizabeth Nyongesa and Veronicah Muthoni  of economic planning misled the governor to demolish buildings without setting aside a temporary site for the businessmen as they plan to expand the town, adding that  the process did not even go through  the assembly  as required. He said as the planning chairman in the assembly, he was never informed of the impending plan to demolish the houses.  
The chairman for budget and appropriation committee, David Kisaka, said the bus park construction may not after all take place as there was no allocation of such funds in the budget for the purpose. Makutano MCA Stephen Njoroge sent the house into laughter as he said: “Mr Speaker sir, I feel like crying as you can see because of the status of this county but I can’t cry when people are also crying Mr Speaker”. Njoroge reminded the house of what happened in Kisumu during the governor’s conference. While other counties were exhibiting what they were doing, Trans Nzoia had totally nothing to exhibit, he asserted.
The county government has been given a two-week ultimatum to start the construction as had been planned or the MCAs will move people where they were before they were moved.
Khaemba last week said negotiations were going on with prisons department and Kenya Railways to allow them for a temporary stage as the bus park project continues and cautioned his detractors to shut up. He said the idle land behind Nzoia Water Services would be another temporary site for business people. Khaemba’s pointman, Ben Mulipuko Wanjala, told MCAs not to look for ways of squeezing money from governor but should instead come up with pertinent issues. Mulipuko said some of the MCAs have also failed to perform in their respective wards.