A row has erupted between Governor James Nyoro and Senator Kimani Wamatangi over claims of embezzlement after Auditor General Nancy Gathungu flagged Kiambu County over misuse of over Sh300 million Covid-19 funds.
Mr Wamatangi, who is also the Senate Majority Whip, says Mr Nyoro must explain how the county spent the money, while the governor has accused the lawmaker of seeking political mileage out of the issue.
Ms Gathungu flagged the anomalies in a special audit, including expenditure of Sh328 million without work plans, double payment of allowances and irregular procurements of non-pharmaceutical goods worth Sh8.9 million.
“By the end of this, we want to know who has taken our money. We are not saying nothing has been done, but where is the rest that is not being accounted for?” Mr Wamatangi said on Friday.
But Mr Nyoro accused Mr Wamatangi of malice in his push for accountability, saying the latter is looking to fix him with a view to having an easy run in the 2022 gubernatorial election.
Mr Nyoro said that, during his interrogation by the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday last week, where he and the senator engaged in a bitter exchange after the county chief failed to give convincing answers pertaining to the audit queries, Mr Wamatangi ought to have kept off the session because he is from the county and will also be his competitor in 2022.
“The rule of natural justice dictates that you declare that you have a conflict and you walk out as the issues in which you have a conflict is discussed. But you cannot be sitting there as a senator so that you can ask us questions showing that we are not working just because we know that you want to run for a governor position,” Mr Nyoro told reporters on Friday at Kirigiti Stadium.
During the virtual senate committee session, Mr Wamatangi had asked the governor to explain why his administration was spending nearly all of the county’s funds on staff emoluments with only a small amount left for projects, saying, while the county receives Sh12 billion annually, only Sh2 billion goes to development.
Mr Wamatangi accused the governor of engaging in unnecessary sideshows, saying, irrespective of whether he will contest for the governorship or not, he has a sworn duty to protect public resources.
“When it comes to shepherding public money, I don’t have friends,” Mr Wamatangi said.