The International Centre for Policy and Conflict together with Mombasa civil society groups have hit back at the county government over accusations of extorting money to cover up the devolved unit’s wrongdoings.
County communications director Richard Chacha had earlier said that Mombasa and Nairobi-based lobby groups were soliciting bribes from the county following a report by the Auditor General that the administration is unable to account for Sh23 million spent on its international cultural festival and Sh204 million revenue from Coast Provincial General Hospital.
“They sent emissaries to our staff seeking bribes, failing which they would criticise the county government over the report. There will be no bribes because we know our records are straight,” Mr Chacha said.
In a statement on Wednesday, the International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) executive director Ndung’u Wainaina challenged Mr Chacha to name individuals and organisations extorting money from Governor Hassan Joho’s government.
“If the county government has any evidence of anybody who solicited bribes, it must give that evidence and name the particular individual or organisation,” Mr Ndung’u said.
He and other lobbyists, who alleged that the county misappropriated Sh1 billion, further termed Mr Chacha’s claim as a ploy “to escape accountability or give hollow excuses about political witch-hunt”.
“We are dismayed by the baseless claims. We stand our ground. We further reiterate that this is not a witch-hunt,” he added in the statement.
The ICPC boss said his organisation and other civil society groups have no sinister motive against the county government but were merely executing their mandate to demand accountability and transparency in the management of public resources.
“The county cannot be passing the buck and explaining away a grave concern.
"It is not a matter of appearing before the county assembly, Senate or National Assembly committees to clear names. It is about providing a detailed account to the people of Mombasa,” Mr Ndung’u said.
The agencies urged the office of the Controller of Budget not to approve any budget expenditure to national and county governments cited by the Auditor General for loss of public funds until full accountability is done.