Waiguru produces proof of foreign trip

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru appears before the Senate special committee formed to investigate her impeachment charges on June 24, 2020. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE I NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The MCAs had accused the governor of having received Sh10.6 million in imprest for foreign travel to the US and Italy, ostensibly to meet potential buyers of Kirinyaga coffee.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru Wednesday tabled before the special committee on her impeachment six photographs she claimed were proof of her foreign trip as she countered claims by the members of county assembly (MCAs) that she received huge payments for trips she never made.

In their impeachment motion, the MCAs had accused the governor of having received Sh10.6 million in imprest for foreign travel to the US and Italy, ostensibly to meet potential buyers of Kirinyaga coffee.

But Wednesday the governor told the committee that she actually travelled and produced the photos as evidence the day county’s head of procurement, Mr Joseph Carilus Otieno, defended her against accusation that she routinely interferes in county procurement matters.

The photos show Kirinyaga County assembly Majority Leader Peter Marango among those who made the trip. Mr Marango is among the MCAs who supported claims that she had not travelled.

Explanations of the photographs were provided by nominated MCA Kepher Kariuki, who appeared before the committee as Ms Waiguru’s second witness. And while he identified Mr Marango in the photographs, he could not confirm the setting of the photo, only saying, “It was not in Kenya”.

“I can see they are very happy in this picture,” Mr Kariuki told the committee probing allegations by the MCAs when they impeached the governor on June 9.

In one of the pictures, a smiling Ms Waiguru and Mr Marango are seen in white dust coats and factory caps holding products in what looks like a factory, while engaged in a discussion with some two white men.

In another picture, the governor, in a blue coat, appears to be addressing a gathering behind a rostrum called The Westin, which, it was claimed, is in New York City. Mr Marango is sitting on her right and listening attentively.

Challenged by the county assembly lawyer Ndegwa Njiru to confirm the setting of the pictures, Mr Kariuki said he couldn’t, but told the committee that MCAs had mistreated the governor during the impeachment debate at the assembly on June 9.

“We raised issues about the manner in which the motion was introduced in the assembly and the fact that MCAs were being coerced to sign a petition to debate the impeachment motion even though there was a conservatory High Court order,” he said, adding that the Speaker had mishandled the debate.

He told the committee that the impeachment was unfair since the governor was not given a chance to defend herself, and no public participation was conducted to give the county residents an opportunity to give their views on the motion.

In their motion, the MCAs have accused the governor of interfering in the award of tenders.

They claim that she has consistently influenced recruitment to the tender and evaluation committee, ensuring that staff who support her preside over the most lucrative tenders.

They claimed that among those she uses were Director of Administration Pauline Kamau, and Wayne Gichira, her adviser on ICT.

But Mr Otieno, who is the head of procurement in the county, defended the governor against the claims, saying she has no role in the composition of the committees, a role legally vested in the county’s chief accounting officer, who by law, is the chief officer in charge of finance.

 “The establishment of the tender and evaluation committee is the sole mandate of the county accounting officer as provided for by law,” Mr Otieno said.

He said county departmental heads are asked to nominate representatives to the committee before the county accounting officer appoints them in consultation with the head of the procurement

 “It is very unfortunate to claim that the governor regularly interferes with the tendering process. We endeavour to ensure that the recruitment of members of the committee is done on a rotational and an ad hoc basis,” he said.


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