Wajir governor in trouble over huge pending bills

Wednesday March 18 2020
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Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud. He is a man under pressure over high pending bills in the county. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BRUHAN MAKONG

Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi is a man under pressure over high pending bills in the county.

A section of leaders and Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) have recently been on his neck, constantly calling him out over what they termed his constant failure to pay contractors and suppliers and the runaway corruption in the county.

The leaders say this has negatively affected the livelihoods of residents as the contractors and suppliers are yet to be paid despite having rendered the services.

FUNDS MISUSE

Wajir County has been on the spot over massive misuse of funds which has put the county boss on a collision course with a section of the leaders.

The leaders are now calling on Mr Abdi to tackle the vice which they say has seen the county’s economy deteriorate.

Attempts by Sunday Nation to get responses from Mr Abdi regarding the myriad accusations levelled against his administration proved unsuccessful as he neither received our calls nor responded to our text messages.

For a county that at one time received World Bank praise for allocating more than 58 per cent of its budget to development, the recent claims of corruption is a bitter pill for the residents to swallow.

EACC SURVEY

A recent survey by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) stated that Wajir is the county where demand for bribes remains the highest for the third year running.

The report suggested that people pay the highest bribes in the county to get government services.

However, the county has since disputed the findings saying the figures were wrong as they used services rendered by the national government to rank the county.

There have been widespread claims that contractors have had to pay 10 per cent kickbacks to the administration for every contract granted to them. However, the Sunday Nation cannot independently verify these claims.

DISCLAIMER OPINION

Wajir County was given a “disclaimer of opinion” by the former Auditor General after the release of the 2017/2018 audit report.

The Auditor General noted that the county had pending bills amounting to more than Sh2.7 billion. He further stated that despite the executive disclosing 11 bank balances with nil balances, the bank statements and certificates revealed that the accounts had balances totalling Sh1 billion.

Withdrawals not recorded amounted to Sh850 million while expenditure with no supporting documents totalled Sh788 million. The county also overspent Sh350 million on employee compensation.

The piling pressure has seen Mr Abdi engage in a constant war of words with some leaders, including the Woman Representative Fatuma Gedi and nominated Senator Farhiya Hajj.

SOCIAL MEDIA ATTACKS

The Woman Representative’s frequent calls for accountability has put her under heavy criticism from Mr Abdi's supporters who constantly attack her on various social media platforms.

“At no time will I ever remain silent while seeing public funds being misused by those in power,” she said.

Just recently, Ms Gedi urged the MCAs to ensure that all the listed contractors and suppliers are fully verified to prevent county funds from being directed to proxy companies.

Her sentiments came after a directive by the National Treasury late December requiring counties to settle all the pending bills.

Ms Gedi claimed that genuine contractors and suppliers in the county were yet to be paid while accusing the county government of directing the funds to proxy companies that belong to top county officials.