Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui has sent home the entire county public service board in what is said to be a culmination of boardroom wars that have persisted since his election in 2017.
According to sources, Governor Kinyanjui has been on a collision course with the board, which was appointed by his predecessor Kinuthia Mbugua, as he sought to establish control of his administration.
Previously, the board has been implicated in irregular recruitments, among other malpractices that contributed to a ballooning wage bill of Sh6 billion.
On Tuesday the county boss sent the entire board on compulsory leave to allow for investigations over what he termed as gross misconduct.
Governor Kinyanjui, in a statement, said the board, staff and its secretariat had been suspended for 45 days to allow for the investigations.
Among those sent on compulsory leave include the board’s chairman Waithanji Mutiti, secretary James Mbugua, members Peter Mwarania, Monica Cherutich, and Richard Tutah – all allies of former governor Mbugua.
“The County Public Service Board defied instructions from the county government to stop recruitment of staff owing to findings of a staff audit report. The recruitment is likely to jeopardise recommendations of the audit report and expose the county government to litigation and a bloated workforce,” read the press statement.
Governor Kinyanjui further warned that the county will not be bound by any appointments ensuing from the illegal recruitments.
In 2016, the board faced a public onslaught over irregular employment of 180 workers.
Many of them were clerical staff and administrative officers. The workers were said to have been employed without the approval of the county assembly.
A county assembly ad hoc committee, in a report, recommended the immediate sacking of then county secretary Joseph Mogusu Motari, Public Service Management Board Chief Officer Philip Sigei, chairman Mutiti and his secretary James Mbugua for illegally employing 180 workers between January and November 2015.
The recommendations were never implemented until Governor Kinyanjui took over in 2017.
A recent staff audit done in 2018 revealed that the county government had been losing Sh26 million annually to ghost workers.
The biometric staff audit conducted between May 28 and June 16, 2018 revealed that the county government was spending an average of Sh1.13 million annually on ghost workers in form of salaries and benefits.
The audit report further revealed that 23 employees were not accounted for but were still retained in the county payroll.
Also, 136 staff in the payroll were missing from the biometric register.
Nakuru has 4,830 staff on the county payroll, most of whom were inherited from the defunct municipal council.