Orengo speaks on graft claims, invites EACC to probe his deputy

Siaya Governor James Orengo speaks in Wagai in Gem sub-county. He has called for investigations against his deputy William Oduol. [File, Standard]

Siaya governor James Orengo has invited the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate his deputy William Oduol over financial dealings in his office even as the differences between the two deepened.

Orengo, who poked holes into claims of financial mismanagement that has rocked his administration, defended his government and called on the anti-graft body to investigate all the claims.

The development opens a new chapter in the protracted row that threatens to derail Orengo's ambitious manifesto.

Orengo who addressed a press briefing on Friday, June 2, 2023, said he has asked the EACC to investigate if his deputy gave false information to public entities by implicating his administration with graft.

The governor, who fell out with his deputy over what the latter said was a result of ideological differences, asked EACC to undertake a thorough investigation into the role of the deputy governor in presiding over the committee of pending bills.

"In particular, the Commission should determine whether the deputy governor abused his leadership of the committee for rent-seeking. The county government will endeavour to assist the commission in determining this question," said Orengo in a statement read by his Chief of Staff, Colonel (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna.

The governor has also questioned whether or not his embattled deputy raised any of the issues regarding financial mismanagement in writing to any appropriate organ, agency or office.

Among the issues Orengo also wants EACC to probe include an expenditure of about Sh18 million to renovate the deputy governor's office.

"We call on the EACC to investigate the Deputy Governor for the allegations of interference with matters relating to the procurement of contracts for various projects in the county," said Orengo.

He further asked EACC to investigate Oduol for the allegations of interference with matters relating to the procurement of contracts for various projects in the county.

"By virtue of the fact that the Deputy Governor has gone public to claim that he has made complaints to the EACC, DCI and the County Assembly, whether the said reports/allegations constitute the offence of giving false information to a public or state office," he further stated.

Siaya Deputy Governor William Oduol at a past event. [File, Standard]

While committing to provide services to the people of Siaya, Orengo asked the commission to make a full inquiry as to whether any cash withdrawals made between the periods of September 2022 to date have been applied for purposes spelt out in the budget and relevant legal and financial instruments.

He also asked the commission to investigate whether monies initially allocated for Siaya County Stadium have been irregularly or at all reallocated to Migwena Stadium.

Orengo revealed EACC has been conducting investigations in relation to the alleged embezzlement of Sh600 million by officers of the county government of Siaya who worked under the former regime.

"The investigations commenced before the current administration assumed office and are yet to be concluded. It may well be possible that the amount of money which was pilfered could be more than Sh600 million," stated Orengo.

He added that the probe on some county staff and collection of some vital documents by the EACC in October last year gave an impression that it had zeroed down on the key suspects.

Orengo said the agency's silence has created room for speculation on the ongoing investigations.

"This is an issue which would otherwise have been avoided had the process been concluded in good time. This is in view of the fact that the discussions in the media touching on the alleged financial misappropriation in the county government are matters that the Commission was seized of long before the current administration took office," said Orengo.

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