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Elachi bans Nairobi MCAs' trips to UAE over Sh2.35m debt

Sunday February 23 2020
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Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By COLLINS OMULO

Nairobi ward representatives’ frequent trips to Dubai have come back to haunt the assembly, with Speaker Beatrice Elachi now banning the visits.

The Speaker ordered investigations into a ''mysterious'' Sh2.35 million ($23,500) legal debt owed to a Dubai-based firm, which was involved in the ward reps’ trips.

Advocates of Birmingham Leadership Development Centre wrote to the assembly demanding the outstanding legal fees reportedly incurred in 2019.

INVESTIGATION

Ms Elachi thus halted trips to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) until investigations into the matter are concluded.

She directed that the matter be taken over by the assembly's ad hoc committees.

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“As we await completion of the inquiries and tabling of reports by the various committees, which will unravel the circumstances that led to the unexplained legal claims, members are advised to cease any official travel to the UAE as the Assembly Service Board addresses the issue."

MISAPPROPRIATION

Ms Elachi said she received a demand letter from Abdullah Mohammed Rasoul Ali Alharmoodi Advocates & Legal Consultants on behalf of Dubai courts.

It was dated February 8 and addressed to former Clerk Jacob Ngwele.

“The Birmingham Leadership Development Centre is claiming outstanding legal and court fees amounting to $23,500, vide Dubai Court Judgment No 656/2019 and 1952 of 2019,” she said.

She said the legal fee was accrued when Mr Ngwele was the clerk.

“The suit was applied as a result of Mr Ngwele’s failure to pay the money owed to the firm without clear reasons," said the Speaker.

“The Office of the Speaker takes cognisance of financial misappropriation and abuse of office by Ngwele during his tenure as the clerk of the assembly,” she added.

NGWELE'S RESPONSE

Mr Ngwele is currently locked in a battle with the assembly after being forced out of office.

Ms Monica Muthami has since been appointed the acting clerk.

Reached for comment, the clerk said the case originated from a trip seven MCAs took to Dubai in June 2018.

But Mr Ngwele claimed the amount was paid to the firm on May 27, 2019 under cheque number 000268 through the Co-operative Bank.

He said the Dubai-based firm expected an initial payment of Sh1.2 million from the assembly after it invited MCAs for a training programme.

“The assembly was to pay Sh1.2 million, but not Sh2.35 million as claimed. I can confirm that the Sh1.2 million was paid and what the firm is trying to do now is to blackmail us,” said Mr Ngwele.

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