The downfall of Beatrice Elachi - Daily Nation

Why Nairobi MCAs impeached House speaker Beatrice Elachi

Friday September 7 2018

Beatrice Elachi

Ousted Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi. She obtained court orders stopping her removal. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By COLLINS OMULO
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By FAITH NYAMAI
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A myriad of claims by Nairobi ward reps have led to the downfall of Speaker Beatrice Elachi, who was impeached on Thursday.

The speaker, who seems not ready to go down without a fight, got reprieve after the Labour court stopped her removal until her case is heard and determined.

SH550,000

But why do the city county lawmakers want her out?

Top on the legislators' long list of claims is abuse of office, where they allege the speaker inappropriately used public funds on dubious travel to Dallas, Texas, in the US.

While Ms Elachi said she in the US for a Diaspora women network conference, MCAs claim she was travelling for a plastic and knee surgery.

The reps said their surgery claim was backed by an insurance claim from CIC Insurance totalling Sh1 million, whose payment was similarly "procured through deceit and intimidation".

She is also accused spending public funds on a visit to Dubai, UAE, to ostensibly receive “a fake honorary doctorate degree from the ‘London Graduate School’, which is affiliated to a ‘Commonwealth University’, a university suspiciously registered in Belize, a tiny country in central America, and run from Nigeria.

Here, Ms Elachi is alleged to have paid a sum of Sh550,000 of taxpayers’ monies, as part of a suspicious “Dubai Leadership Summit,” knowing fully aware the costly and fake degree was a ploy by “Nigerian fraudsters in what are commonly known as 419 scams”.

SH1.5M

“Renowned media personalities such Mr Larry Madowo and Mr Boniface Mwangi even highlighted in their social media platforms when they received similar invitation letters from the Nigerian scammers to pay to receive the honorary doctorate,” the motion reads in part.

Ms Elachi, the MCAs say, also breached Article 201(d) of the Constitution on prudent and responsible use of public resources, and Section 162 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012, by inappropriately buying a First Class ticket to Texas, at Sh1,500,000 on May 23.

This, the lawmakers say, is “in contravention of all practice and relevant regulations on travel by State officers, which demands that all State officers, even at her level, travel Business Class, which was originally valued at Kshs900,000, but whose highly irregular upgrade to First Class she procured through intimidation, leading to loss of public monies.”

The former nominated senator is also accused of violating Leadership and Integrity Act by threatening, intimidating and harassing officers of the County Assembly Service.

She is accused of undermining the office of the Clerk of the County Assembly through various correspondences to Constitutional Commissions such as the Commission on Revenue Allocation, Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the Auditor-General seeking to unilaterally control all administrative affairs relating to the intergovernmental function of those offices.

SH25M

In addition, she is accused of violating the County Assembly Powers and Privileges Act, 2017 by repeatedly inviting the Ethics and Integrity Commission (EACC) and other investigatory agencies to investigate the conduct of Members of the Select Committee on Labour and Social Welfare.

Under conflict of interest, she is accused of interfering with procurement processes with a view to having tenders awarded to parties close to her or their proxies.

The MCAs allege she actively interfered in the purchase of a house for the speaker “by threatening, bullying and intimidating staff to have a party close to her win the award despite that party having clearly failed the mandatory criteria for award of the tender”.

The proxies are accused of creating a mark-up of Sh25 million above what the market survey report recommended, having quoted Sh125 million when the recommended price was Sh100 million.

The embattled speaker, who is only a year into her position, was accused of undermining the authority of the County Assembly Board by unilaterally undertaking the functions of the board.

APPPOINTMENTS

She is alleged to have usurped the powers of the board by purporting to “secretly and unilaterally” appoint officers of the board as accounting officers through defining mandates at the Central Bank of Kenya, IFMIS and Internet Banking without consultations.

Moreover, Ms Elachi is also accused of violation of Section 23 of the County Assembly Services Act 2017 and Standing Order 92 by unilaterally allowing debate on the conduct of the Clerk of the County Assembly on June 14.

Her accusers say the move was contrary to the provisions of the law and the standing orders, which require such debate to be held upon a specific substantive motion, and after issuance of at least a three-day notice.

The MCAs said the action undermined the authority of the board which has exclusive mandate to recommend the suspension or removal of the clerk.

On failure to show leadership, Speaker Elachi is alleged to have interfered with the legitimate results of a women caucus election, where she “unilaterally cancelled the results of a legitimate vote and ordered a fresh election, clearly abusing her office”.

TRIBALISM

She is also blamed for repeatedly commencing assembly proceedings without the requisite quorum, and proceeding with assembly sittings where the question of quorum has been raised, and acceded to, contrary to the Standing Orders.

Also, she is accused of violating the leadership and integrity law by promoting tribalism and nepotism.

The speaker is said to have “continually” given members from a certain community special favours  and repeatedly warning staff from certain tribes to tore the line or face the consequences.

Lastly, she is alleged to have made concerted efforts to interfere with a report of the Public Accounts committee contrary to the Standing Orders and provisions of the Leadership and Integrity Act.

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