Nairobi County to tighten noose on graft, Elachi says

Speaker urges the public not to politicise war on corruption.

Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi addressing journalists in her office on August 28, 2018. PHOTO | COLLINS OMULO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
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Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi has said that more investigations are still underway at the county assembly to uncover financial malpractices.

This comes at a time when five assembly officials and a businessman have been charged before in court over irregular award of tenders and payments at the Assembly.

Speaker Elachi stated that she has written to the Auditor-General and the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) to identify gaps in the assembly’s procurement system and processes to be followed according to the law.

She said that the Auditor General will come in to identify gaps in payments and give risk assessment report to ensure that the Assembly does not find itself in the current situation it is in.

In addition, the PPOA is to come in and prepare a report on how the Assembly needs to follow tender processes that President Uhuru Kenyatta had said.

“The investigations are normal processes happening in all government institutions according to the directive by the President and so we should accept whatever outcome,” said Ms Elachi on Tuesday.

She claimed that the first point of concern is the Sh7.3 million debt owed by the Assembly to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) arising from withholding of tax to different suppliers.

“It is a shame that we owe government. I am appealing to all the institutions that we owe to bear with us. I know that KRA can confiscate our accounts or impose a penalty due to the debt but I am talking to Controller of Budget and the Central Bank to intervene,” she said.

On Monday, clerk Jacob Ngwele, his deputy Adah Onyango, senior finance and planning officer Fredrick Macharia, senior procurement officer James Kariuki and principal account Philomena Nzuki were charged with conspiracy to defraud the county of Sh997, 926.

The officers have also been barred the officers from accessing the county assembly precincts until the case is heard and determined.

In light of this, Ms Elachi assured services will not be disrupted at the Assembly saying services will continue uninterrupted as there are other competent officers to hold forte.

This comes after concerns were raised that the barring of the officers from the Assembly precincts could affect service delivery.

“Officers who have been working with them will continue with the work as this is a seamless government that will move regardless of the office holders. It doesn't mean that when an individual moves, then nothing continues,” the Speaker said.

She assured that services such as payment of salaries and allowances will not be disrupted by the ongoing development.

“We have not heard any hitch and we will be done with paying salaries to our staff by next week. We always commence processing of salaries from the 15th of every month before release to our employees,” she said.

The Speaker further urged the public not to politicise the current development at the assembly saying that the process (investigations) has been going on for a while.

“We will sit down as a board and give a report on the recent happenings and status of the county assembly,” she said.

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