Roads minister fights MCAs’ impeachment

Eng. Lucy Wanjiku Kariuki CECM Roads and Infrastructure before Assembly Ad-hoc Committee on July 11, 2019. [Harun Wathari/Standard]
A top Nakuru county official who is battling impeachment has defended herself over accusations of abuse of office.

Roads and Infrastructure Executive Lucy Kariuki fought off her impending impeachment on Wednesday when she appeared before a special committee formed to probe her over accusations of gross misconduct and abuse of office.

Ms Kariuki who has had the impeachment motion hanging on her head for the past three months, said she had done nothing wrong when she appeared before members of the ad hoc committee formed by the assembly.

Grilling session

In the four-hour grilling session at the county assembly board room, Kariuki defended herself against four charges brought against, claiming the petition adopted by the assembly was malicious and lacked merit.

She fought off allegations of gross misconduct and abuse of office, incompetency and alleged failure to implement various development programmes. The minister was accompanied by her lawyer Collins Akenga.

The executive is alleged to have failed to implement various programmes including Boresha Barabara, a new initiative by governor Lee Kinyanjui aimed to improve the state of feeder roads across all the 55 wards.

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Kariuki denied that she caused the delay of the implementation of the plan that started in January 2018, but stalled in April 9, 2018.

The petitioners had accused her of altering a development criteria for the Boresha Barabara initiative leading to delay in implementation of the project and poor workmanship.

The committee chaired by Kaptembwa MCA Peter Kajwang, said they had confirmed the allegations as true during their site visit, but the executive said she was not to blame.

In her defence, Kariuki said after the launch in January 2018, the project proceeded on well and on February 1, 2019 during the governor’s meeting at the assembly, MCAs came up with a proposal for a supplementary budget and to have six clusters to cover the initiative in the shortest time possible.

The pace at which the initiative which was being carried out across the six sub- counties was termed slow due to lack of adequate machinery.

She revealed that a meeting she held in her office on February 7, 2019  with the Roads Committee chairperson Michael Chege, Majority Leader Moses Kamau and Budget Committee chairperson Joel Maina, came up with a new framework and tentative budget.

“I did not the alter programme, we only changed the dates. At no time did I or my office alter the plan as stated,” the minister said.

The MCAs as per the meeting were to come up with a plan and a tentative budget.

She said the projects in Kureoi and Molo were temporarily withdrawn as there were rains and little could be done. In some wards, she said, machinery could not be made available.

The executive said in March, 87.8 kilometres of road had been graded and 9.1 kilometres gravelled in 17 wards using the available resources.

“Work has been going on safe for some areas which were affected by events beyond our control for instance rains,” she added.

The committee informed her that Nakuru Town was in darkness since she had failed to utilise money allocated for street lighting.

Between financial year 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 the county government had allocated Sh122, 685, 160 for street lighting.

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Lucy KariukiNakuru County Roads minister