Ex-clerks risk Sh10m fine if they don’t return chains - Daily Nation

Ex-clerks risk Sh10m fine if they don’t return chains

Tuesday June 9 2015

Transition Authority Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi (left) addresses journalists during the presentation of an inventory of assets and liabilities of the defunct Nandi County local authorities in Kapsabet Town on June 9, 2015. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA

Transition Authority Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi (left) addresses journalists during the presentation of an inventory of assets and liabilities of the defunct Nandi County local authorities in Kapsabet Town on June 9, 2015. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ELIAS MAKORI
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By TOM MATOKE
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Former local authority clerks have been given a two-week ultimatum to produce mayoral chains failure to which they risk being fined Sh10 million or face a 10-year jail sentence.

Transition Authority (TA) Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi on Tuesday said only two chains have been returned from Bungoma and Embu.

Mr Wamwangi also said from their nationwide inventory, the defunct local authorities owned Sh141 billion worth of assets with Sh60 billion in liabilities.

He spoke when the authority launched a nationwide presentation of unaudited inventories of assets and liabilities of the defunct local authorities.

The authority has held sessions in Nandi, Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, Taita-Taveta, Meru, Embu, Narok, Migori and Nairobi counties.

Today, the agency moves to Tharaka-Nithi, Kitui, Kajiado Kakamega, Siaya and Homa Bay counties.

“We have only received mayoral chains from Bungoma and Embu and we are expecting at least two chains from each from the former 175 local authorities,” said Mr Wamwangi.

He spoke in Kapsabet Town during the authority’s public presentation of the unaudited inventory of assets belonging to the defunct Kapsabet Municipal Council, Nandi County Council and Nandi Hills Town Council.

“We are giving clerks of all county governments two weeks to produce the chains. They would be held responsible because they were the custodians,” said Mr Wamwangi.

“In some places like Thika, the mayor’s wife also had a chain along with the mayor and his deputy,” he said.

WAS STOLEN

Mr Wamwangi said according to the Transition to Devolved Government Act of 2012, anyone found to have stolen public property would be fined Sh10 million or spent 10 years in prison.

In 2002, the Nairobi City Council mayor’s golden chain worth Sh150 million was stolen and recovered 10 months later in Paris.

In 2006, former Nairobi Mayor Dick Wathika and Town Clerk Godfrey Mate were charged with stealing the mayoral chain worth Sh9.8 million.

The presentation of unaudited assets and liabilities is the first of three phases that will see the authority also audit the devolved functions before registering the residual National Government assets.

The TA has for the last several months been preparing the county by county inventories and began its presentations on Monday.

“We have decided to go to all 47 counties to present an inventory.

“We are telling the public that if you know of any asset forgotten or hidden, then give us the information,” he said.

The TA chairman said that before the register of assets is handed over to the county governments, the authority would return to the counties to conduct a forensic audit.

OFFICIALS COLLUDED

It is emerging that several officials of the former administration left without handing over assets to the devolved governments.

There are reports that some officials of the former local government ministry colluded to dispose of land, buildings and vehicles.

Nandi County Assembly Speaker Edwin Cheluiget yesterday said there is need to physically verify the whereabouts of the former local government’s assets in the county.

He said they would demand records of bank accounts belonging to the former Kapsabet Municipal Council, Nandi Hills Town Council and Nandi County Council.

“The Nandi County Assembly will expose officials who are implicated in the report because the local authorities in Nandi had millions of shillings in their bank accounts which need to be accounted for,” said the Speaker.

Nandi Sports executive Patrick Sang and his Agriculture counterpart Mary Ngelechei said the county government would not shield offenders.

“The Ministry of Agriculture had land in Nandi, which the former officials have not handed over to the county government.

“The officers who were in charge and those who have since retired would be called to do a proper hand over, said Ms Ngelechei.

Mr Sang, an Olympic steeplechase silver medallist, said members of the public in Nandi know where land meant for sports was located.

The retired athlete said the Nandi County Government would ensure that all officers are accountable to protect public assets.