Assembly staff suspended over leaked - Daily Nation

Embu county staff suspended over MCAs' Sh11m gym budget story

Tuesday July 3 2018

Embu county staff

Embu communications officer Mutugi Njue (left) and Hansard reporter Daizy Rutere who were suspended for allegedly revealing MCAs Sh11 million gym subscription budget. PHOTO | CHARLES WANYORO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By CHARLES WANYORO
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Embu County Assembly Service Board has interdicted two communication officers, accusing them of leaking information on secret expenditure contained in this year’s budget. 

Senior communications officer Mutugi Njue and senior Hansard reporter Daizy Rutere were suspended indefinitely after details emerged of how MCAs intended to use Sh11 million to pay for gym subscriptions.

The two were ordered to vacate office in letters by Assembly Clerk Jim Kauma.

In the letter the clerk accused them of violating the obsolete Official Secrets Act of 1968, and the Access to Information Act of 2016.

The letters stated that the two would be placed on half salary pending further probe by the board.

An MCA privy to the latest development said the board was incensed over an outcry from the public following details of the intended Sh11m gym fees.

The assembly was also left in embarrassment after details emerged that they had endorsed payment of Sh160 million to irregularly purchase public land which was owned by the same devolved government.

The two officials had had also been put to task to explain how details emerged that the county government intended to spend Sh3million to buy panties for county pupils.

A further Sh2 million was set aside for painting septic tanks in Vocational Training Centres.

The details emerged during budget making meetings where MCAs and members of the executive spoke in public.

On Tuesday, Mr Kauma defended the action, claiming that the two could have invited the media to the assembly without permission.

Mr Mutugi and Ms Rutere were tight lipped on whether they would be appealing the decision to interdict them or seeking legal redress.

Runyenjes Central MCA Steve Simba condemned the interdiction of the two as unprocedural and unprofessional.

He said the Service Board violated the County Assemblies Services Act of 2017 and all known labour laws since the employees were not granted an opportunity to be heard.

Mr Simba’s sentiments were echoed by Ruguru Ngandori MCA Muturi Mwombo who said legislative staff members hailing from Manyatta Constituency were being unfairly targeted for elimination.

He said the move could be a ploy to give a chance for other MCAs and top administrators to employ their relatives and cronies.

Nginda MCA John Gichovi and his nominated counterpart Sicily Warue also vowed to fight the malicious interdiction of County Assembly employees without following due process.

The Service Board Chairman is Speaker Josiah Thiriku, Majority Leader Michael Njeru is the Vice Chairman while the clerk  Jim Kauma is the secretary.

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