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At City Hall, work goes on without troubled Governor Sonko

Sunday January 12 2020

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at Milimani

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at the Milimani Anti-Corruption Court on December 9, 2019, when he was charged with 19 counts of graft and abuse of office over loss of Sh357 million. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s Cabinet has held its first meeting since he was barred from office over corruption claims.

Acting County Secretary Leboo Morintat chaired the Wednesday meeting of county executive committee members, chief officers and sector directors.

The meeting took place on the backdrop of a push by city MCAs for revival of the Nairobi Regeneration Committee to oversee City Hall's operations in Sonko's absence.

SERVICE DELIVERY

The ward representatives resolved to have the national government revamp the committee and work alongside the city's executives to ensure effective service delivery.

They said areas of immediate focus included clearing bills, water rationing and solid waste management due to the garbage menace.

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Mr Morintat said they also held the meeting to discuss how to ensure project continuity in all the wards.

He said other key subjects were revenue collection, road repairs following heavy rains and flooding, the supplementary budget, control of illegal hawking and construction, and general maintenance.

“The aim was to brainstorm on what we can do to ensure service delivery is efficient. We reviewed 2019, looked at challenges and recommended solutions,” he said.

REVENUE COLLECTION

On revenue, the public service management chief officer said they will focus on enhancing collection through the more than 130 streams available.

“We have formed a multi-sectoral team that will oversee payment of rates and payments for licences, permits, public health certificates and parking. The team will ensure everyone has paid,” he said, adding that the target for the financial year is Sh14 billion.

Governor Sonko’s administration has failed to meet its annual financial targets, with collections falling below the numbers reached by his predecessor Evans Kidero's administration.

In the financial year that ended June 30, 2019, the county recorded Sh10.17 billion against a target of Sh15.21 billion. This was a slight improvement from the Sh10.1 billion collected in the 2017/2018 financial year.

In the current financial year, the county collected only Sh1.5 billion in the first quarter – July, August and September – against a target of Sh3.2 billion.

Last week, however, Mr Morintat said all chief officers and directors listed measures for increasing revenue collection.

PROJECTS

Regarding projects, Mr Morintat said the executive will ensure the old ones that stalled and the new ones are all completed.

“We told every officer to double efforts in assessing all areas, especially roads, starting with the most dilapidated areas, while also doing maintenance,” he said.

On the supplementary budget, he said they will prepare the document and present it to MCAs for approval when assembly sittings resume in February.

DEPUTY GOVERNOR

A court barred Sonko from office to facilitate investigations into alleged loss of Sh357 million of the county's money.

Sonko denied the graft charges on December 9, but Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said there was sufficient evidence to sustain them.

Two days later, Sonko was released on a Sh30 million bond with a surety of the same amount or a cash bail of Sh15 million.

In the interest of continuity of operations, Sonko on Monday nominated Anne Kananu Mwenda the deputy governor.

But Mr Haji presented him with a new headache, saying that in documents filed in court on Friday, his decision to nominate a deputy violated his bail terms.

He could be taken back to remand prison following the public prosecutor’s request to have his bond cancelled.

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