New Laikipia governor pledges to pay contractors

Joshua Irungu Ndiritu Muriithi

Outgoing Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi (left) takes a walk around the Nanyuki Governor's office on August 23, 2022 in the company of Governor elect Joshua Irungu. The new governor pledged to clear all pending bills left by his predecessor.

Photo credit: Mwangi Ndirangu I Nation Media Group

Laikipia Governor-elect Joshua Irungu has pledged to complete development projects initiated by his predecessor, Ndiritu Muriithi.

Mr Irungu who was the first governor before he was ousted by Mr Muriithi in 2017 also said his administration would not victimize employees deemed to have been close allies of his competitor before and after the August 9 polls.

“My Administration will first strive to complete the projects started by His Excellency Governor Muriithi even as we initiate new ones since public resources were used and continuity is necessary. For the county staff, you have my word that none of you will be victimized simply because you supported my competitor during the gubernatorial race,” said Mr Irungu.

The incoming governor who spoke during a familiarization tour of the county offices in Nanyuki Town gave an assurance to suppliers and contractors that they would be paid their dues once he takes office.

Pending bills

“It is normal to have pending bills and we shall cooperate with suppliers of goods and services contracted by my predecessor. I want to assure them that I will cooperate where needed and they should be free to come and serve the citizens of Laikipia County,” said Mr Irungu who spoke in the presence of Mr Muriithi.

However, the governor elect who is scheduled to take the oath of office did not state the figure of pending bills which his administration is expected to clear saying his team was still perusing through the books of accounts.

When he took over office five years ago, Mr Muriithi inherited a debt of Sh913 million as pending bills from the outgoing administration. However further audit pushed the figure upward to Sh1.3 billion.

Although the handing over committee handed him Sh 913 million pending bills a further scrutiny revealed the figure to be Sh1.3 billion.

Outstanding bills

Mr Muriithi suspended the payment of all outstanding bills left by his predecessor and ordered further audits to verify their authenticity.

 “In some instances the only document in a contractor’s file is a payment voucher which could be an indication that these contracts could have been given verbally, a sheer abuse of the procurement process,” Karanja Njora, then an accounting officer in the office of the governor, told journalists.

Mr Muriithi described the Tuesday afternoon briefing with the governor-elect as part of the transition process adding that in the assumption of office Act there are laid down procedures to be followed including declaring assets and liabilities to the incoming team and providing information on ongoing development projects.

Some of the development projects started by Mr Muriithi and are yet to be completed include the Sh140m Makurian Water Project in Laikipia North Sub-county, upgrade of the Nanyuki open air market and the Nanyuki main bus terminus as well as smart town project which aims to improve infrastructural and drainage systems of 11 urban centres spread across the five sub-counties.