The gush of millions of shillings allegedly stolen in Bungoma jerrycans scandal flooded the county assembly, the Nation can authoritatively reveal.
Ward Reps — men and women elected to check misuse of public funds — received their over Sh2 million share of the loot in April as Kenyans soaked in the scam, documents in our possession show.
All, except six, elected and nominated lawmakers pocketed between Sh30,000 and 40,000 during a meeting held at the county assembly on April 18.
The cash was doled out in the hallowed House after police, citing government ban on public gatherings, spoiled the MCAs’ party hosted by Majority Leader Florence Wekesa at Mabanga centre.
According to an MCA who received Sh40,000, they were duped that the cash had come from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“They told us to use the money to sensitise the public on coronavirus or at least use it for ‘something’ we can account for. We’re shocked to learn that the Executive was out to fix us with bribes,” the lawmaker said.
It is for this reason that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has summoned the MCAs as investigations into the scandal, which is threatening to bring down Governor Wycliffe Wangamati’s administration, enter top gear.
In a letter dated May 7, the EACC asked assembly Clerk John Mosongo to facilitate 10 MCAs to record statements Tuesday and Wednesday.
Those summoned are Ms Wekesa, George Makari (MCA Musikoma Ward and chairman, House Health Committee), Tony Barasa (MCA Lwandanyi), Miliah Masungo (Misikhu), Rose Imbega (nominated) and Winny Nyambok (nominated).
Others are Meshack Wekesa (Mukuyuni), Joseph Maguda (Township), Violet Makhanu (Mihuu) and Metrine Nanjala (nominated).
Six out of 60 MCAs who refused to collect the money have also been summoned to explain what they knew about the cash.
EACC told the Nation that the MCAs were given the money by a senior county official to go slow on the investigations.
“We have information that last month, over Sh2 million of what was said to be ‘WHO’ funds was shared among 54 MCAs — Sh40,000 for each elected MCA and 30,000 for each nominated,” said an EACC official.
Mr Wangamati is on the spot for allegedly buying 20-litre handwashing jerrycans at Sh10,000 each among other bloated expenditure on materials for the county’s fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
The governor has vehemently denied the claims, saying the containers were donated by well-wishers whom he has declined to name to date.
EACC is extending its investigations to the county assembly after recording statements from 10 members of the executive implicated in the scam.
The Sh11 million spent on Covid-19 fight was borrowed from Bungoma and Webuye County hospitals and EACC is investigating how officials returned part of the cash to the hospitals’ accounts.
The Nation is in possession of documents that show how up to Sh6.9 million was withdrawn from the county’s bank account in a single day and handed to county staff who paid suppliers in cash.
The investigations come even as 39 MCAs push for the outer of Assembly Speaker Emmanuel Situma and Ms Wekesa whom they accuse of sitting in a meeting with Executive where a plan to “fix the MCAs,” was hatched.