Bungoma leaders and residents have protested the purchase of 10 wheelbarrows at a total cost of Sh1.09 million by the county government.
The county’s ministry of agriculture bought the wheelbarrows for Sh109,320 each for its slaughterhouse.
Bungoma County Assembly Majority Leader Majimbo Okumu on Tuesday said he was shocked by what he called “wastage of public funds by the executive”.
Mr Okumu said the county government is spending taxpayers’ money with impunity.
He was speaking after inspecting some of the wheelbarrows at the Bungoma slaughterhouse.
“This is one way of misusing public funds by the executive and we will get to the bottom of this matter and ensure public funds are properly utilised,” he said.
Mr Okumu noted that it was not possible for a wheelbarrow to cost that much. Even the material used to manufacture the wheelbarrows “does not warrant such a price”.
The market price for an ordinary wheelbarrow in Bungoma Town is about Sh5,000.
Governor Ken Lusaka yesterday demanded an audit into the controversial purchase of the wheelbarrows. Mr Lusaka had earlier defended the purchase by the veterinary department, saying the wheelbarrows “were not ordinary”.
Mr Lusaka had said they were specially fabricated and tailor-made for use in slaughterhouses. “The information that I am getting from the veterinary department is that these are not the ordinary wheelbarrows that we know. These are wheelbarrows that are made of stainless, non-carcinogenic material and are used in the food industry,” said Mr Lusaka.
But speaking at a press briefing in Webuye on Tuesday afternoon, the governor said he had asked the officers in the department that had bought the wheelbarrows to prepare a comprehensive report on their procurement.
He said the purchase was done in November 2013, and the wheelbarrows’ quality and costing was doubtful.
He said he had started investigations as there was a major disparity between the specifications and the actual goods that were delivered.
Mr Lusaka said he had asked all the participants in the tender and evaluation committees to justify the controversial purchase.
He spoke as angry residents in Bungoma town protested over the purchase of the wheelbarrows, demanding the sacking of officials implicated.
The residents marched in the town streets and went to the county government offices carrying twigs, wheelbarrows and placards reading “Lusaka must go!”