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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 10 May 2015

Singapore trip ghost hangs on deputy governor

Taxpayers will fork out Sh2.3 million to fund the Singapore trip in which Vihiga county deputy governor Caleb Amaswache was denied entry into the Asian country for failure to produce valid travel documents and a letter inviting him for a conference on affordable housing.
 An ad hoc committee of the Vihiga county assembly was also informed that the amount excludes the air tickets for the six persons who were scheduled to leave the country on April 13 for the three-day conference.
But it has emerged that only two of the six travelled yet each person in the deputy governor’s delegation banked large amounts of money as per diem.
 Information released by the county assembly principal finance officer Oscar Miyinzi revealed that Amaswache received Sh492,156 contrary to the lower figure of Sh445,000 he gave to journalists during a press briefing called on April 20 this year in his office on arrival from Singapore.
 Amaswache also presented the same figure of Sh445,000 which he offered to refund after the trip failed when he appeared before the ad hoc committee investigating the conduct of the suspended assembly clerk Josephat Musambayi.
 According to evidence given to the Andrew Ahuga-led committee, Miyinzi said the chief officer lands, housing and urban development Lucy Ijai, her finance counterpart Wilberforce Ndula and Musambayi each banked Sh389,298.
 The two MCAs who were to join Amaswache who is also acting county executive for lands, housing and urban development on the trip, Muhudu ward rep Jackson Musoga and nominated rep Pamela Amunga each took home Sh309,225.
 Miyinzi said the allowances were given to the said officers as per diem and he had payment voucher for the amount which excluded the cost of air tickets for the six.
“We need to confirm whether the trip was made or not. I cannot independently confirm whether the air fares were met by the assembly,” he said.
During committee hearings, Amaswache could not tell the amount of the one way air ticket he used to fly to Singapore to attend the sixth annual conference on affordable housing. His return ticket was paid for by the Singapore authorities after he was expelled from the country.
Amaswache told the committee that he did not see the other officers in Singapore including the embattled clerk, neither did he travel with them yet they were scheduled to use the same flight.
The controversial Singapore trip is one of the eight reasons that pushed the county assembly service board into suspending the Musambayi.

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