Sonko sacks two ministers as EACC intensifies probe over Sh357m loss

Embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (pictured) may be courting more trouble even as the anti-graft agency digs in for more information in the probe on the loss of Sh357 million.

Sonko yesterday reshuffled his cabinet despite the tough bail terms issued by the  Anti-Corruption Magistrate Douglas Ogoti.

The governor fired two executive members and reinstated the ones he suspended last year.

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CEC Finance Paul Kahiga and Winfred Gathangu, of Agriculture were sent packing. 

Sonko nominated Karen Nyamu as CEC Agriculture and George Fredrick as CEC Trade, Commerce, Cooperatives and Tourism. Ms Nyamu had wanted to vie for for the Nairobi Woman Representative seat but lost during Jubilee nominations.

Suspended CEC Charles Kerich who was the governor’s ‘Mr Fix-it’, was reinstated to the Lands, Urban Planning and Housing department.

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Also reinstated is CEC Roads, Transport and Public Works, Mohammed Dagane, while Hitan Majevdia was appointed to the Ministry of Health.

Those who retained their dockets are Newton Munene, ICT and E-government docket and Lucia Mulwa, Education, Youth and Sports.

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Prohibited

Larry Wambua was moved to Environment Water Energy and Natural Resources docket from Devolution and Public Service which has been taken over by Veska Kangogo.

Sonko retained Leboo Morintat as County Secretary, Lydia Kwamboka as County Attorney and Peter Kamau Mugo as Chief of Staff. Allan Igambi will replace Ms Kahiga as CEC Finance and Economic Planning.

Meanwhile, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has written to the National Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia over the probe on payments of illegible pending bills.

As at January 8, last year Nairobi City County was among 24 counties that received pending bills disbursements totaling Sh14.billion, with the latter getting Sh1.4 billion against Sh19.4 billion according to audit on status by the Auditor general as at November 28, 2019.

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“In this regard, the commission has received credible information that Sonko’s administration intends to make suspected fraudulent payments,” said EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak in a letter on Thursday. “Some of the beneficiaries are suspected not to have offered services to the county. There are also allegations of conflict of interest.”

According to the letter copied to County Secretary Leboo, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge and Controller of Budgets (CoB) Margaret Nyakang’o, the commission wants any further disbursement halted until the investigations are completed.

Sonko’s cabinet changes come after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji plea to revoke Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkula’s bail terms for reshuffling his cabinet was dismissed.

The commission grilled Leboo upon receiving allegations that the governor could be in breach of his bail terms which prohibited him from accessing office to perform the functions of office of governor by issuing appointment terms.

On January 22, EACC upon receipt of the complaint, requested the County Secretary to furnish it with documents and electronic equipment to verify the allegation.

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Thereafter, a team of investigators visited his office and collected documents and equipment, including Executive Order No.11 of 2019 on reorganisation of the county government dated December 4, 2019 issued by Sonko.

Others included five copies of the letters dated December 5, 2019 appointing/resigning the County Executive Committee Members (CECs), Mulwa, Kahiga Waititu and Igambi. Profoma invoice No.0000995 dated December 13, 2019 purported to have been issued by the government printer.

The gazette notice no.11854 gazetting Igambi as CEC finance and Economic planning effective December 5th, 2019. Official receipt no. 0440603 issued by the Government Press to Nairobi County on December 13, 2019.

Leboo chaired the first cabinet meeting with the main agenda focusing on how to ensure the county achieves Sh14 billion revenue target by June.

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Mike SonkoEACCWar on graft