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EACC urged to probe misuse of funds by Joho administration

Saturday July 25 2020
JOHO

Mombasa Governor Hassan briefs journalists on coronavirus preparedness in March. Six ward representatives accuse the county government of misusing billions of shillings. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MOHAMED AHMED

Did Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s administration embezzle part of the Sh31.4 billion spent in three financial years?

This is the question the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) will be seeking answers to as it looks into claims made by six ward representatives.

The amount includes Sh11.1 billion in the 2017/18 financial year, some Sh13.3 billion in the 2018/19 and Sh6.9 billion in the first nine months of the 2019/20 fiscal year.

In documents forwarded to the commission and obtained by the Sunday Nation, the county lawmakers say Mr Joho’s administration channelled the money to non-existent projects.

In the report signed by Mr Charles Kitula (Freretown), Mr Fahad Kassim (Mjambere), Mr Athman Shebe (Jomvu Kuu) and Mr Robert Nyiro of Bamburi, the group says its efforts to seek explanations have hit a wall.

“We have made the best efforts to have the expenditure explained by county authorities but they failed to give satisfactory responses,” the report filed at commission reads.

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Mombasa EACC boss Mutembei Nyaga said the report by the ward representatives is being looked into.

DETAILED REPORT

“We received the letter last week. Our officers will look at it before deciding on the next course of action,” Mr Nyaga told the Sunday Nation by phone.

The ward representatives want the commission to direct the county treasury to give detailed reports and files on the issues raised.

They want the devolved government to name every project initiated and implemented and their costs during the three financial years.

The six also say the Governor Joho administration should state the sites of the projects and provide their bills of quantity and payment certificates.

They have also asked EACC to compel the county government to give the dates of payment.

“We do not have faith in the Assembly Finance Committee, which has been the source of these problems. Matters are being done differently in this county,” the representatives say in their letter to the commission.

The letter points out instances the county plans to spend millions of shillings on projects that require small amounts.

Mr Fahad, for instance said the devolved government plans to spend Sh65 million on buying flowers and Sh3.4 million to drill boreholes this fiscal year.

NO BASIS

County Assembly Finance Committee chairman Mohammed Hatimy termed the claims by the six ward representatives “unfounded and with no basis”.

“Any information that goes to the Controller of Budget is from the county government. We have also been getting quarterly reports at the assembly. What else do they need?,” Mr Hatimy, an ally of the governor, asked.

On the reports of the millions of shillings to be used flowers, Mr Hatimy said the figures are in the county’s annual development plan “which is based on projections”.

“These people do not know how the budget is made. All they are citing is in the plan. The exact amount to be spent on those projects will be shown by the bill of quantity,” Mr Hatimy added.

He said it is prudent for leaders to familiarise themselves with the budget “and stop embarrassing themselves”..

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