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Citizen Weekly

Monday 16 February 2015

Kisii county assembly looted to bare bones

There is intense infighting at the Kisii county assembly following irregular and unprocedural recruitment of over 400 members of staff who were absorbed between July and September 2014 last year.
The speaker of the county assembly Kerioso Ondieki is alleged to have sold the employment opportunities to the applicants for between Sh150,000 to Sh300,000. The recruitment process has been hit by disputes almost halting routine activities at the assembly. During a meeting held in October 2014, members of the service board distanced themselves from the anomaly.
Those present blamed the speaker, then acting clerk of assembly Omwoyo Mbaka as key players in the scam. Mbaka is said to have dished out letters to people who were not even interviewed for the positions. Ondieki is said to have monitored the entire process together with his henchmen.
Insiders within the county assembly say a section of MCAs have taken the matter to court. Also at the centre of the scuffles is the sharing of office space to the officers.
It is no secret that the speaker procured the office space without involving other officers. The only person Ondieki involved in the office space provision deal was the office in charge of procurement, Edward Ondieki alias Bwana Tamaa, sparking off the squabbles.
The acquisition of the office space was done without valuations, no competitive bidding and tendering as by law prescribed and in tandem with the procurement and disposal Act that calls for due diligence. The timing was set when the assembly offices were under construction and only months for it to be ready for occupation. To mint money, they rented offices and the question being asked is whether it was necessary to rent the space.
Further infighting revolves around the procurement of furniture.  Due to irregular procurement process, the county assembly is indebted over Sh15 million. Ondieki allegedly purchased furniture to the tune of Sh61 million.
The supplier of the furniture allegedly also diverted some of them to Sakawa County Hotel. The hotel is allegedly associated with one of speaker’s wives, Margaret Keriosi. His wife is a well known lady whose tempers flare up occasionally and is said to be in a habit of abusing workers every now and then.  She boasts of millions of shillings the speaker has recently acquired. Months back, she is said to have run berserk on discovering the speaker was allegedly dating a Kamba lady.
Still on furniture, more of it was allegedly taken to the speaker’s two homes. Ondieki is a polygamist and plans to marry another third wife from Ukambani.
The controversy surrounding the furniture purchase has seen the clerk of the assembly decline to pay the supplier. Reason? The procurement process was flawed. No furniture in the assembly totals to Sh61 million indicated.
Another worrying scenario is the amount spent to clear entertainment bills by the speaker and his cronies. Ondieki is well known to frequent Magharibi Hotel in Kisii and Itebo Resort. Anytime he visits, huge bills are incurred after which he demands county assembly to settle the bills.
Loss of government properties is another nagging problem. Computers, wooden cabinet bought by the assembly have been resold at a throw-away price. All is done by a cartel under the supervision of the speaker.
As a result of the malpractices, there has arisen bad blood between the speaker and clerk. Ondieki has ignored any professional advice from the clerk and often consults his key players in the scandals.
Those in Ondieki money spinning cartel are director in charge of legal and procurement. Insiders are questioning what the speaker and his pointmen are set to do next before Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission officers step in.
There is a hue and cry from all the wards on who will save the county from those primitively out to acquire ill-gotten wealth.
And to enjoy the taxpayers money, the speaker’s right hand men, use county assembly money to buy air tickets for junior staff that are not even entitled to such luxuries. They fly to Mombasa, Nairobi on love escapades.
The speaker’s vehicle is driven in advance to receive him either in Nairobi or Mombasa together with his entourage. The same official car is used by many of his wives to run family errands and visit his children at schools.

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