EACC to grill Governor Njuki over Sh34m alleged graft

Governor Muthomi Njuki. [File, Standard]

Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki is expected at the anti graft agency offices today for questioning on suspected corruption in his administration.

The standard has also established that four other governors are also on the radar of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for suspected abuse of office and flouting of procurement and financial laws.

Among the cases that the commission is investigating is the procurement of an incinerator said to have been bought at Sh4 million and sold to the county for Sh34 million.

“The EACC is investigating matters that relate to the procurement of an incinerator by the county government of Tharaka Nithi.  The incinerator was delivered to its Chuka Town site by Generation Electronic and Allied Limited," reads the letter by EACC dated May 16 and signed by the agency's CEO, Twalib Mbarak.

The governor is expected at Integrity Centre at 10am.

According to correspondences seen by The Standard, the governor's first appearance was scheduled for April 11, 2019 as per the letter by EACC dated April 5.

Changed date

However, Njuki, through lawyer Katwa Kigen, requested for change of date to April 23 at either Embu or Isiolo EACC offices.

But EACC replied on April 18 indicating that April 23 was not possible because there were other engagements planned for the day, and proposed the meeting for April 30 at 10am at Integrity Centre.

Kigen responded on April 23, indicating that it was not possible for the governor to honour the date.

“We very much regret that April 30 is difficult to our client. Our client was nominated by all governors to represent the Council of Governors (CoG) in Zambia. He is its council committee chair for Agriculture. The meeting is due from April 29 to 30, a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Africa conference on food security threat,” he said.

Kigen then sought another appointment for the governor.

“We very kindly request to re-schedule the meeting to either May 6 or May 8, preferable in Embu or Isiolo. He waives any entitlements related to protocol necessitating having the meeting /interview in Nairobi,” wrote Kigen. 

The EACC's Isiolo office covers Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Isiolo and Laikipia counties.  

The inquiry comes at a time the county is in the spot after the Auditor General Edward Ouko queried the spending of Sh19.42 million on an official car.

According to the June 30, 2018 audit report, Ouko noted that the Land Cruiser VX has a 4,500 cc engine capacity which was in breach of the law that prohibits counties from purchasing official vehicles exceeding 3,000ccs for heavy-duty vehicles.

Ouko also questioned how the procurement of the vehicle's number plate from a local car dealer.

Awarded contracts

The auditor has also questioned the awarding of Sh3.8 billion contracts and the spending of about Sh6.2 million on foreign trips and allowances for three MPs who traveled to United States and United Kingdom last year.

In the UK trip, the audit states that the governor and the two MPs spent Sh3,287,664  although the purpose of the travel was not clear from the invitation letter.

“No reason was given as to why the two MPs, who are not county employees were paid from the executive’s fund. It has therefore not been possible to ascertain that the expenditure was expended as appropriated and that the executive got value for money,” Ouko stated. 

There were also no reports to show how residents of Tharaka Nithi benefited from the expenditure.

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Governor Muthomi Njuki.EACCEthics and Anti-Corruption CommissionTharaka NithiIntegrity Centre