Senators grill Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto over recruitment

The allegations included abuse of office and favouritism in the county.

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto. He appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on February 16, 2016. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IN SUMMARY

  • The security officers were sourced directly by the governor after the County Public Service Board refused to interview them.
  • Mr Kerrow said the Act did not allow side-stepping of the board when making any appointments in the counties.

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Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto was put on the spot for employing more than 500 county security officers without following the law.

He was also accused of not indicating the work the officers will do.

The governor appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday to respond to a raft of allegations raised in a petition before the House.

The allegations included abuse of office and favouritism in the county.

The security officers were sourced directly by the governor after the County Public Service Board refused to interview them.

Members of the committee said the appointment of the officers had raised a scare in the government following the failure of the governor and his counterparts to explain what their role was.

Committee Chairman Billow Kerrow said Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery had questioned the appointment of the officers when he appeared before the Senate.

“It is a concern for national security. When the CS appeared before the Senate he raised a concern about these security officers not only in Bomet but also in other counties because they seem to be used by governors for other purposes. They have been said to be militia,” said Mr Kerrow, the Mandera senator.

The officers are casuals on a two-year contract and senators said it was against the County Government Act to employ anyone without the approval of the Board.

“What does the County Government Act say about recruitment of public servants? Doesn’t it say they must be recruited with the approval of the Public Service Board? There is something called the law that must be followed, however difficult it could be,” said Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o.

The petitioners claim the board has been denied funds and was not able to perform its role as required.

CONTRACT

Mr Kerrow said the Act did not allow side-stepping the board when making any appointments in the counties.

“There is no law permitting recruitment of persons, whether casual, on contract or permanent, without the approval of the board. It appears you are circumventing the law to recruit people,” said Mr Kerrow.

Mr Ruto agreed that he had not sought the board’s approval, saying he was not aware of any law that stopped him from appointing people on contract.

“It is not true that we recruited them single-handedly. The board advertised ... the jobs but when it came to interviews, they refused to interview them, so we went ahead and recruited them for two years. As far as I am concerned there is no law that bars me from recruiting anyone on contract,” said Mr Ruto.

The governor was also taken to task to explain why he had given road construction tenders to his brother and sister.

The question followed revelations that all the construction work in Chepalungu constituency was being done by Tundo Roadcon Ltd, which is owned by his brother Micah Ruttoh.

The governor defended himself, saying there was no law that stopped him from giving tenders to anyone other than his spouse or child.

“My brother Micah has been a businessman in Bomet County since 1992 and he has every right to compete for tenders and contracts like anyone else,” he said.

He added that there was no other company that was interested in building roads in Chepalungu apart from his brother’s.

Senators, however, asked him to present minutes indicating the award of the tender to his brother and the withdrawal of other bidders.

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