Assembly begins inquest in Sh23.9M purchase of 2ha governor's residence land

Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo arrives at a function in Luanda town recently. [Eric Lungai/Standard]
The assembly has begun an investigation into how the county government acquired two hectares of land for Sh23.9 million to construct the governor’s residence.

Lands Committee led by Central Bunyore MCA Paul Tirra visited the said land as an inquiry into its purchase commenced yesterday.

A payment voucher that leaked from the Executive indicated the county government recently acquired the land at Inderi in Sabatia constituency and paid Sh23, 940,000.

“The assembly thought it wise by doing its oversight role to come to the ground and ascertain the physical location of the property, before looking for experts who will give us the real value of the land,” said Mr Tirra.

Also present were MCAs Eric Odei (Gisambai), Douglas Beru (Shamakhokho), Victor Ijaika (Lugaga/Wamuluma), Vincent Atsiaya (Wodanga), Zakayo Manyasa (Mwibona), Francis Ukiru (Izava/Lyaduywa) and Moses Opole (Emabungo).

The probe comes barely a week after two county executives Marita Agufana (Youths) and Alfred Indeche (Finance), were impeached over alleged misappropriation of funds, and intention to defraud the county of Sh18 million. Education Executive Felistus Okumu was sent on compulsory leave.

Governor Wilber Ottichilo went ahead and sacked his County Secretary Francis Ominde during a press briefing, and appointed other executives to act in the capacity of those sent home.

Mr Ijaika, who is also the majority whip, noted that preliminary investigations show the land is small and may not be enough to construct the governor’s residence.

“We want to investigate each and every project undertaken by the county government so as to weed out any traces of corruption,” said Ijaika.

Speaking during an interview on a local radio station on Monday morning, Dr Ottichilo said the Sh23.9 million was justifiable as valuation of the land was done before buying it.

And Senator George Khaniri has commended the assembly for investigating county executive members and encouraged MCAs to remain steadfast in ensuring accountability of the Executive.

“The fight against corruption will not be easy. It is bound to continue being complex, tough, messy and dangerous, given that corruption is tempting and fights back viciously. I urge MCAs not to give in to compromise,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has written to the county government requesting for documents regarding the Sh18 million that was held in a private account by one of the impeached executives.

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land acquisitionvihiga governor wilber ottichilovihiga county assemblyEthics and Anti-Corruption Commission