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Laikipia County throws corruption suspects out of office

Sunday November 3 2019


Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi engages residents in a question and answer session during the release of the county's annual financial report, at his office in Nanyuki on September 5, 2019. He is boosting his efforts against corruption. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Senior officials in Laikipia County have been charged with corruption and others sent home as Governor Ndiritu Muriithi intensifies what he termed as a graft purge in his administration to get rid of officers of questionable integrity.

Among those interdicted are Chief Officer of Roads and Infrastructure Joseph Maina, who was accused of approving payment for a non-existent project in Ol Moran ward.

The board of Nyahururu Water and Sanitation Company also sent Managing Director Joseph Mwaura on compulsory leave to pave way for investigations of abusive of office.


Last week, Mr Mwaura lost a legal bid to stop investigations by the board.

A former Chief Officer for Water, Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Joseph Mwangi Maina - who was on interdiction - was charged at a Nanyuki court on Monday last week with three counts of bribery from dam contractors.


The hearing is set for March next year. According the the charge sheet, he solicited for Sh220,000 from the director of Korner General Contractors - Mr James Gatwiri Warui - on unknown dates in January last year.

The firm is said to have successfully won a tender to rehabilitate Solio Four earth dam and the bribe was meant as facilitation fee for the project's supervision.


The previous week, senior county government officers - among them County Executive Committee Member for Water Njenga Kahiro - testified in a case in which two people are charged with grabbing land set aside for a water dam.

After Mr Mwangi's arraignment, the devolved unit issued a communication to all its employees, warning them that it had forwarded complaints about them to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

County Secretary Karanja Njora confirmed that several senior officers are under investigations over allegations of corruption and other forms of abuse of office, and some had already been interdicted.

“It is worthy noting that majority of you have embraced reforms introduced by the Executive that are geared towards making our public service a world class civil service,” Mr Njoro told the staff.

Last year, the governor successfully petitioned the County Assembly to sack the public service board members after accusing them of wayward conduct such as corruption, nepotism, and unprofessionalism.


The former board members lost an attempt to stop the investigations and impending removal by the assembly.

A director was sacked last month for conduct unbecoming of a public servant.

County executives have also been warned that they would be sacked if the Auditor General does not give them a clean bill of health.

In his memo, the County Secretary urged the staff to perform their duties with a high degree of professionalism.

“High ethical standards are part of our new culture, and staff whose are found wanting in their conduct will have to make a choice between reforming and quitting the public service,” Mr Njora said.

Mr Muriithi started off by initiating reforms in the county public service, which included wearing of staff badges and audit of finance systems.

After carrying out a staff audit in August, the county government has assisted about 300 employees who did not have KCPE and KCSE certificates to enrol for adult learning.