EACC probes Wajir County Assembly over irregular staff hiring

The anti-graft agency has directed the Wajir County Assembly not to include recently hired staff in the payroll pending investigations.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating claims of irregular recruitment by the Wajir County Assembly Service Board (CASB).

The EACC wants the assembly to prove that the new employees were hired competitively and whether their positions were advertised.

“To facilitate investigations, kindly but expeditiously furnish the commission with a comprehensive list of all staff employed by Wajir County Assembly from September 2018 to date, advertisement for each position of the new recruited staff, long list of applicants, shortlist of the applicants, minutes of the panel, final report and appointment letter,” the EACC states.

The letter dated November 22 and signed by a Japhet Baithalu says: “In the event the newly recruited staff were not subjected to the above stated legal procedures of employment, the commission strongly advises against including the said staff in the payroll of Wajir County Assembly until the conclusion of this investigation.”

CASB secretary has been directed to to make the documents available to EACC’s North Eastern Region offices in Garissa County by Wednesday.

EACC detectives on Saturday arrested County Secretary Ahmed Sahal on claims of fraud and misappropriation of funds. 

Also detained was Jeff Mworia, the head of the Treasury and the governor's economic adviser.

Daud Abdullah Omar, the Finance and Economic Planning executive, and the Kenya Commercial Bank Wajir branch boss was also being sought. 

The officials have been accused of embezzling Sh26 million.

“Investigations by the commission established that Wajir County government officials in cahoots with KCB Bank officials irregularly withdrew and embezzled Sh26.1 million held in the county government imprest account,” EACC said in a statement.

Outgoing EACC boss Halakhe Waqo said: “The commission concluded investigations and forwarded the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who upon review concurred with the recommendations of the commission and gave consent for the arrest and prosecution of the suspects with various offences.” 

The arrests came after detectives raided the homes of Governor Mohamed Abdi Mahmud in Nairobi and Wajir.

The detectives also searched the home of Mworia in lower Kabete, Nairobi, and took away documents. The governor’s homes in Wajir and Nairobi's Spring Valley were raided on November 17, as was the residence of the manager of the KCB branch in Wajir, Siyadh Ibrahim Ahmed.  

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