Lobby group want City Hall finance bosses to step aside over fraud allegations

The Nairobi City County Government (NCCG) headquarters along City Hall Way on 16 October 2022.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | NMG

A lobby group now wants City Hall finance boss Charles Kerich, chief finance officer Asha Abdi and the head of the Treasury to step aside to pave way for investigations into the alleged payment of millions to nine companies that supplied nothing to the county government.

This comes as Governor Johnson Sakaja has been given a seven-day ultimatum to ensure that the three officials vacate office, failing which they will be forcibly removed.

The lobby group - Tunza Mtoto Coalition-Kenya - said the public lacked confidence in the county government's good faith to allow proper investigations.

Photo credit: Nation Media Group

Consequently, the three senior officials should step aside and if they fail to do so, they will mobilise various sectors to resist the county government.

"Should the Governor fail to comply within seven days, the Coalition will take action including but not limited to mobilising Nairobians for mass action to remove the corrupt officials from office as well as mobilising tax resistance from various sectors of the county until confidence is restored in the county leadership," the coalition's executive director Muthoni Ouko said in a statement yesterday.

She added that the governor, as the holder of the highest moral authority, should make a public statement on the scandal and pledge to cooperate with investigators.

The latest development comes after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) launched an investigation into a suspected money laundering case in which City Hall allegedly made fraudulent payments to companies that provided no services.

In a letter dated 24 July, DCI chief Mohamed Amin, through the head of the Investigations Bureau at DCI headquarters, David Birech, wrote to acting District Secretary Patrick Analo demanding a list of tender documents, requisitions by user department, award contracts, delivery and inspection reports and all local purchase orders issued to profiled nine companies believed to have been used to siphon off the money.

According to the DCI, the nine listed companies are believed to have been used in a suspected money laundering scheme and fraudulent payments for services not rendered.

Ms Ouko expressed shock at the alleged looting, saying it comes at a time when Nairobi residents are struggling with the high cost of living.

"It is heartless that the Governor and his senior officials, who have been entrusted with the responsibility of leading the citizens to a better city, are busy enriching themselves while hardworking Nairobians are wallowing in misery and suffering," she said.

She drew the attention of the City Hall boss to Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity and Section 30 of the County Government Act on the functions of the Governor, which requires the Governor to exercise the said functions with diligence.

The former Nairobi Education CEC also drew the governor's attention to the Public Finance Management Act and its attendant provisions that require county officials to be fiscally prudent in the use and management of resources.

"We want the Nairobi County Assembly, as an oversight body and in accordance with the Constitution and the County Government Act, to institute proceedings to address the wanton corruption in the county."