County assemblies accused of leading looting of county coffers

Kiambu County assembly members during a past session. The assembly is on the spot over failure to account for Sh45 million they used during a trip to Israel.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Some ward representatives, he said, are on the spot for wasting tax-payers’ funds by holding committee meetings and report writing retreats outside the assemblies and, in some instances, failing to account for it.
  • The CPAIC has been grilling Speakers and clerks of the county assemblies over their respective expenditures, revealing massive financial impropriety.

County assemblies have been urged to ensure transparency and accountability while spending the money allocated to them annually.

Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, a member of the County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC), has expressed concerns over the numerous cases of suspect financial transactions in the assemblies where expenditures amounting to millions of shillings cannot be explained.

The CPAIC has been grilling Speakers and clerks of the county assemblies over their respective expenditures, revealing massive financial impropriety.

Mr Wamatangi said reports from the offices of the Auditor General, and Controller of Budget have exposed significant financial impropriety where expenditures are often not supported by documents.

Allowances

Some ward representatives, he said, are on the spot for wasting tax-payers’ funds by holding committee meetings and report writing retreats outside the assemblies and, in some instances, failing to account for it.

They have also been flagged for illegally awarding themselves allowances and other emoluments. Mr Wamatangi said some assemblies has increased members’ allowances by up to ten times.

“County assemblies are critical in ensuring accountability in the county governments but it’s unfortunate that some are preaching water and drinking wine. They often lead in financial mismanagement and looting of county coffers through fraud and conflict of interest,” Mr Wamatangi said yesterday.

“You can’t be the prefect and then lead in breaking the law, you will have no moral authority to censure the lawbreakers,” he added. His comments come amid huge public interest in the goings-on at the Kiambu County assembly, which is grappling with allegations of embezzlement of funds after Speaker Stephen Ndicho failed to explain to the Senate how Sh15 million was used by members in a tour of Israel.

Sh15 million

Mr Ndicho, while appearing before the Senate a week ago, could not explain how Sh15 million was spent during a trip to Tel Aviv and whose receipts were handwritten and did not have dates. The expenditure for another Sh30 million had no supporting documents.

This triggered a spat between Mr Wamatangi and Mr Ndicho after the latter seemed to blame the senator of failing to provide guidance to the county assembly.

“Since 2017, we have pleaded with my senator come tell us where we may be going wrong,” he said.  This angered Mr Wamatangi who asked the Speaker what advice he required to know that spending public money and failing to account for it was illegal, even as he warned that there would be “a time of reckoning” at the county assembly.

“I did not advise you to send your members to Tel Aviv and come back with handwritten and undated receipts for Sh15 million. What advice would you be needing to know that that is wrong? What advice would you be needing for MCAs to spend Sh45 million and not provide receipts for Sh30 million of the amount?” Mr Wamatangi posed.

dmaichuhie@ke.nationmedia.com

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