MCAs accuse Nyeri governor of diverting ward funds

Nyeri County Assembly has threatened to impeach finance executive of Governor Mutahi Kahiga (pictured), accusing him of diverting cash meant for Ward development.

In a heated debate that marked the reopening of the county assembly yesterday, the ward reps accused Kahiga’s administration of frustrating ward development projects by diverting Sh90 million budgeted for them to clear pending county bills.

And in a clear sign of worsening relations between the governor and the ward reps, Speaker John Kaguchia directed that purchase of five acres to build the governor’s residence be stopped.

Kaguchia said the Salaries and Remuneration Commission circular that set two acres for the governor’s house and one for his deputy must be strictly adhered to.

“Similarly, the ceiling for the constructions -Sh45 million for the governor and Sh35 for the deputy governor must be observed,” ruled the speaker.

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In the 2018/2019 budget, Sh200 million had been allocated for the construction of the two houses.

In the current financial year budget, the assembly allocated Sh60 million for construction and Sh20 million for land.

Karatina ward rep Watson Weru moved the motion on non-implementation of projects, claiming there were no ongoing projects in the wards.

In seconding the motion, Chinga ward rep Kiruga Thuku claimed that Kahiga’s administration diverted the money meant for the construction of access roads in some wards to clear county pending bills.

“When the governor and the executive appeared before the Senate in September last year, they did not did disclose the county had pending bills amounting to Sh186 million,” he said.

The ward reps said none of the projects they had promised the electorate had kicked off, four months to the next financial year.

“Even the Sh2.3 million per ward to cater for bursaries has not been forthcoming,” said Weru.

Investigate diversion

Mukurweini West ward rep Kenneth Gatheru called on the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate how money allocated under the Sh1 billion ward development fund in the 2019/20 budget has been spent.

“We should have been called on to pass a supplementary budget for pending bills,” Gatheru lamented.

They accused the governor of turning the electorate against them.

“We had to get out of town during the long recess to avoid questions from the electorate on when the projects we promised would start,” said Gatitu/Muruguru ward rep Symon Muturi.

The ward reps warned that unless the projects were implemented, they would take action against Kahiga’s administration.

“It will not be business as usual,” said nominated ward rep Caroline Muthoni,  

Speaker Kagucia directed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to find out how much the county owes in pending bills.

“In 2019/20 budget, the executive disclosed that the vote for budgetary reserves was to cater for pending bills which was clearly not the case,” he said.

He also ordered all approved projects to commence immediately, and Kahiga’s cabinet to report the status of implementation within 28 days.

“The assembly will not hesitate to take appropriate action, including dismissal for incompetence and inability to use public resources prudently,” he said.

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Nyeri County AssemblyGovernor Mutahi Kahiga