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Senator Omar tears into Governor Joho, accuses him of corruption

By Willis Oketch | Published Tue, January 3rd 2017 at 00:00, Updated January 2nd 2017 at 23:33 GMT +3
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. (Photo: Courtesy)

Senator Hassan Omar has renewed his onslaught on Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, accusing his administration of grand corruption.

The senator claimed there was corruption in the award of a garbage collection tender and a multi-billion-shilling housing project.

In what is turning out to be the battle of the Hassans, the vocal senator claimed that Joho’s administration had fraudulently awarded a Sh300 million garbage collection project to his close allies.

Omar further accused the governor of planning to sell an old housing estate to private developers.

“The county government irregularly allocated the contract for collection of garbage through single-sourcing, in contravention of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Law, to a company whose directors are believed to be close confidants of the governor,” said Omar.

And while denying the claims, the Joho administration accused the senator of inventing facts to ignite a political storm and vendetta.

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political enemies

Joho and Omar belong to ODM and Wiper Democratic Movement, respectively, within CORD but are political enemies.

Senator Omar is eyeing the governor’s seat in the August 7 elections.

The housing project aims at bringing down old houses in the coastal city to pave way for what has been described as ‘modern and low-cost units’.

Following a bitter court fight, the High Court last month allowed the project to proceed.

“I have reliably learnt that the County Government of Mombasa intends to proceed with plans to sell off public housing estate in Mombasa,”’ said Omar.

The garbage scandal was first picked by the Auditor General, who has questioned the propriety of the procurement in the 2013/2014 report.

“I reiterate my earlier position that whereas I support the renewal of old estates, this renewal must not lead to privatisation whether by sale or disposal of public housing to private individuals or companies,” added the senator.

Yesterday, Omar claimed the garbage firm was single-sourced to benefit a firm owned by the governor’s associates, and that this had led to the loss of Sh1 billion in four years.

sore loser

But challenged by journalists to prove his claims and identity of the firm, the senator declined to provide the details only promising to “do so at an appropriate time”.

But Omar said corruption should be fought by all whether it’s perpetrated by Jubilee or CORD.

“All the visitors I spoke to (over the Christmas and New Year holidays) seem to confirm the hue and cry of the residents of Mombasa that the county, despite its beautiful beaches and other attractions, is filthy,” Omar told the press yesterday.

But yesterday, Joho’s administration parried off the claims, describing the senator as “a sore loser” following the High Court outcome.

A spokesman, Richard Chacha claimed the senator was inventing facts and twisting tales to suit a political agenda.

“Hassan Omar is aware that this is a matter which has been raised by the Auditor General and which we will respond to before the Senate committee,” said the spokesman.

He said there was nothing illegal or criminal in the garbage collection issue and promised to give all the answers when they meet the Senate.