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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Outlandish deals at Siaya county drain public coffers

Siaya county governor has totally lost control of his administration. Documents availed reveal a network of corrupt officers within the office of governor Cornel Rasanga, county treasury, procurements and county assembly.
Just recently, Governor Rasanga was forced to terminate the services of his chief of staff, Alloys Obare. He has now been forced to sack the procurement chief, Tobias Oloo over allegations of corruption.
But the real problem might not be the officers but the governor, his office and the county secretary, Kepha Marube. Marube was mentioned in the EACC list of shame but he is yet to step down.
The jostling for resources has reportedly led to the alienation of the Deputy Governor Ouma Onyango.
Already, feeling the heat from sleuths is the acting chief of staff, Omamo Wandai, who has been accused of failing to account for the expenditure of Sh3million from imprests account. The money was irregularly withdrawn from the county treasury.
The chief of staff is also accused of approving payments to MCAs for unclear allowances and non-existent meetings and travels. Omamo is also being accused of organising functions where money and other donations sent to the governor’s office are not accounted for.
The governor’s personal assistant, David Ragen, who is also the governor’s nephew, has also been implicated in these illegal schemes.
Ragen is alleged to have received funds for travel to China on March 21, this year on a nonexistent journey. He was paid per diems amounting to 10 days.
The PA has not been seen in any of the available photos from the trip nor was he on the flight manifest available.
Not to be outdone, the other PA of the governor Benjamin Oduor has allegedly turned the county coffers into personal property. Besides purchasing new vehicles, he has made fictitious claims amounting to Sh3.5 million for the upkeep of the governor’s wife.
He is alleged to have also received money on behalf of other employees and not remitted to those who were entitled to receive the funds, generating an uproar.
Oduor is further alleged to have bought his household goods worth Sh350,000 and presented claims for refund from the county coffers.
The PAs are known for nothing more than spending most of their working hours camping at the county treasury chasing fraudulent claims.
Marube, the interim county secretary has allegedly become a key member of the fraud in the county. Marube has been allegedly seen collecting money from contractors and businessmen in the guise of doing the governor’s work.
But the information available indicates that he has since amassed about Sh15million in schemes that have led to the county undertaking works that were not budgeted for.
These works include the controversial timber parlour, the county headquarters wall and solar lighting, both which are under investigations by the EACC.
Initially, Marube was knocked out of the county secretary interview but due to pressure and intimidation from the governor, he was allowed to attend and eventually got the job. The governor is said to be planning to replace Marube with a Magoha who is from Gem.
Some of the illegal awards of tenders to Marube include the purchase of tractors, fertilisers and farm inputs as well as the building of the county headquarters.
Some contractors bribed to get the contracts but were not successful, it is claimed.
As Raila’s family was mourning his son, Fidel Odinga, Siaya county government employees decided to have a field day and spent all they could. A minor audit for the duration reveal that more than Sh11 million were spent on entertaining the county staff as “they mourned” Fidel.
On this expenditure, county finance executive Cleophas Ombogo, one Tobias Oloo and auditor Collins Owino have all been implicated.
The money was allegedly siphoned from the county coffers and it has not been accounted for.
Some claims for road works in East Yimbo, North Sakwa and Ugunja wards that were also made by the county grader.
The procurement team, led by Tobias Oloo (director of supplies) refused to play ball in the road works deal leading to sweeping changes at the department and the dismissal of Oloo.
During Fidel’s funeral, the county government lost a brand new three-phase generator that is alleged to have been sold to traders who travelled from Nairobi.
The illegal sale of the generator is blamed on the county’s director of communications, Boni Odinga.
The county treasury is best known for delaying payments to contractors and employees but being efficient in paying fictitious claims and receiving kickbacks from contractors and employees, it is alleged.
Whenever you need anything done efficiently in the county treasury, you will have to grease the hands of county director of finance and the chief officer.
In addition, the department has also been making double payments to contractors for works done. The department is also a conduit for employees who lodge claims for activities that are not undertaken in the county.
This mainly affects the office of the governor. For example, the governor receives Sh350,000 per week for upkeep in his house while receiving other monies for hosting delegations at his home in Segere, Busia and Nairobi.
The accumulation of funds has greatly increased the financial muscle of the governor in preparation for 2017 elections.
The members of county assembly have not been left out in the chase for the quick buck. MCAs have abdicated their duties of oversight and legislation and are currently engaged in conducting business with the county.
Most of the MCAs have suddenly become the contractors, suppliers, brokers and middlemen to the contacts in the county.
Some of the county assembly officials implicated in these deals include the leader of majority, the chief whip together with the MCAs of Siaya, Central Gem, West Yimbo, North Uyoma, among others.
This has led to compromised and substandard works in the county since the MCAs influence payments and award of contracts.
It has also led to delay of project completion with over 70pc of projects or 2013/14 incomplete.
This is said to be the reason why Siaya is lagging behind in surveys assessing the utilisation of funds and is perennially ranked as a poor performing county.
But the most chilling of all is Rasanga who is widely known to be the Jacob Zuma of Kenya when it comes to the utilisation of public funds in undertaking private activities.
His private home in Segere has recently been upgraded with funding from the county coffers.
The home has benefitted with the recent installation of stand-by generator, toilets all paid by public money.