MCAs pledge to crack whip on corrupt officials

Public Accounts and Investment Committee Chairperson Anselm Mwadime (left) and Water Committee chairperson Jones Mghanga during a grilling session at the assembly chambers in Wundanyi, Taita Taveta County.

Photo credit: Lucy Mkanyika I Nation Media Group

Taita Taveta MCAs say they have not neglected their oversight role after a section of residents accused them of failing to tame corruption.

County assembly leaders denied that a majority of ward representatives are “in bed” with the executive, jeopardising their constitutional role of ensuring public funds are not embezzled.

Speaking to Nation.Africa, Public Accounts and Investment Committee chairperson Anselm Mwadime said the assembly is fulfilling its mandate of ensuring public funds are spent prudently.

"We have not been compromised by anyone. We have a cordial relationship with the executive because we are part of the county government," he said.

MCAs were reacting to accusations by some Civil Society Organisations and residents that the assembly had neglected their oversight mandate and failed to investigate corruption claims against some officials in Governor Granton Samboja's administration.

But Mr Mwadime said they only investigate matters raised in the Auditor-General’s reports.

He said MCAs had written to Finance Executive Andrew Kubo questioning some tenders, including the purchase of firefighting equipment and a borehole drilling rig.

Mr Mwadime said they will continue to investigate corruption when they resume their sessions this week.

"I have not been pocketed by anyone. My bosses are the electorate and those are the ones that I listen to," he said.

"Expect a lot of reaction this week. We are ready to dwell on this matter."

On Tuesday morning, the assembly leadership, led by Speaker Meshack Maghanga, held a closed-door meeting to deliberate on emerging issues to be discussed on the floor of the House.

These include corruption allegations levelled against some county officials.

Critics said MCAs had relented on their role of putting the executive on their toes and were serving the interests of the governor in return for favours.

However, Werugha MCA Jason Tuja agreed that some of his colleagues had been pocketed using handouts, bribes and other lucrative baits.

There are allegations that some of the representatives are also using proxies to get tenders from the county government, compromising their oversight and independence.

Mr Tuja, a former majority leader, urged investigative agencies to interrogate those accused of corruption.

"It is sad to confess that we have failed. We cannot do any oversight because some of our members have been compromised," he said.

He said he was removed from his position of majority leader because of his firm position on how county funds are used.

"Because we have failed, then I call upon other oversight bodies to come to the rescue of this county. We are not heading in the right direction," he stated.

He noted that some of the funds allocated to various departments are not utilised well and in a transparent manner.

"As the watchdog of the public, we should always put the executive on its toes if we suspect mischief. We must question where public funds are not accounted for, but it is a different story here. Those who question such irregularities are branded the enemy of the administration," he added.

Civil society organisations in the county have called for a lifestyle audit of public and State officers who they alleged have acquired unexplained assets that don’t match their income.

They have also called on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-

Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate some county officials over corruption claims.