Kakamega County Assembly, minister in war over graft

Kakamega County Executive Committee Member in charge of Treasury and Economic Planning Mr. Paul Otsola during reading of the budget statement for the Fiscal year 2014-2015 at the Kakamega County Assembly. The County budget has been the first one to be approved after meeting all the requirement and guidelines set by the Controller of Budget. Photo by Benjamin Sakwa

Differences between Kakamega County Assembly and the Finance County Executive Paul Otsola have deepened after the latter accused the assembly’s public service board of abetting graft.

The assembly had unanimously passed a motion compelling Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to fire Otsola on alleged corruption. But Otsola has trained his finger on the board which he accuses of flouting procurement rules and making irregular withdrawals of Sh30 million in five months.

“There have been massive withdrawals from the county development account which amounts to an illegality because cash cannot be withdrawn from this account. Money is paid to contractors in cheques,” said Otsola.

Justifying his action to freeze the assembly’s accounts, a matter that led to the impeachment motion against him, Otsola said he had to stop the embezzlement or risk being held accountable. He accused the county assembly accounts officer of hiding financial statements.

“I am being fought because I have stamped my feet to stop misappropriation and embezzlement of funds. Why am I being accused of incompetence and lack of integrity yet the same assembly vetted and approved my name?” said Otsola.