MCAs indict Elachi over irregular staff promotions, demand probe by EACC

The Nairobi county assembly has called for a multi-pronged investigation by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, anti-graft agency, and the Auditor General into the alleged irregular staff promotions carried out during the tenure of Gender CAS Beatrice Elachi (pictured) as Speaker.

This is after the House on Tuesday adopted a report by the Justice and Legal Affairs committee that found the criteria used for staff promotions carried out in 2020 violated the law.

In its report, the committee stated that Elachi who was the chairperson of the Nairobi City County Assembly Public Service Board (NCCASB), violated the law and abused office, by usurping the powers of the board and acting unilaterally in creating, advertising, promoting and filling up positions within the service contrary to the law.

The report said the former Speaker contravened the Public Service Act, 2017, County Assembly Service Act,2017, Human resources manual of public service and the county Assembly HR policies and procedure manual and the Constitution.

“…The former chairperson should be investigated by the DCI, Ethic,s and Anti-Corruption Commission and surcharged for any culpable loss of public funds arising from the impugned acts under Article 226 of the Constitution. The clerk of the assembly should within seven days forward this report to the investigative authorities for appropriate action,” stated the report.

The committee report brought to the fore that in effecting the promotions, there was disregard of the schemes of service in terms of qualification and experience which formed the basis for enabling the Board’s irregular and unlawful acts such as super sessions and promotion of unqualified junior officers to senior positions.

The MCA Joseph Komu-led committee has now recommended that all the senior management positions for the different cadres (scale 9 and above) be declared illegal, null and void and the promotions are revoked and or quashed as such in totality.

“The NCCASB should within 90 days undertake open and transparent advertising of the vacant positions to members of the public in compliance with the provisions of the law. It should also ensure fairness of opportunity and consideration to all members of staff eligible for any of the advertised positions," read the report.

The committee found that the promotions were conducted outside the established framework under the County Assembly Services Act and outside the framework recommended by Deloitte and Touche in its report on the organisational review.

It however recommended that all the officers affected by the annulment of the illegally created and filed positions should not be surcharged for the salaries, benefits, and allowances paid to date, the same being no design of their own.

In its findings, the committee noted that the creation of offices such as that of the Deputy Clerk Administration was illegal and irregular and that there was blatant nepotism, favoritism, and abuse of office by the board for directly recruiting interns and other officers related to the chairperson of the board at the time in 2020 or serving as partisan staff in her office to permanent and pensionable positions.

“The assembly’s operations, particularly committee services and facilities for members of staff have greatly been affected by the promotions without a budget, whence funds since the FY 2019/2020 have been redirected from programs for the county Assembly to recurrent expenditure to pay for salaries and benefits accruing from the irregular promotions,” reads the report.

The committee also noted that there has been a potential loss of public funds, particularly where contractual employees without valid contracts continued to earn salaries without contracts of employment.

“The recommendations of the committee shall be deemed to have taken effect at the lapse of seven days, and the secretary to the board to take appropriate actions to implement the same,” stated the report.

They recommended that the Justice and Legal Affairs committee should also report back to the House within 14 days of the adoption of the report to give a status on the implementation.

Sought for comment, Elachi said she broke no law further accusing unnamed county officials of being behind a smear campaign to tarnish her name.

She explained that she only implemented what had already been agreed upon years before she joined City Hall in 2018.

“I found an assembly where staff had not been promoted since 2013 and were in a career progression crisis,” said Elachi.

"This is something that started way before I joined the assembly. The promotions began during the time of the late Alex Magelo. I only came to implement and we made sure we followed all due processes," she added.  

The CAS also defended herself saying that she borrowed an organisational structure used by the Senate and the Kiambu County Assembly which was tabled on the floor of the House and adopted.

"Those with issues would have questioned it then but nothing of the sort happened. We have the report and the Hansard to that effect," she said.

"We requested resources and it was put in the budget. They are not fighting for anything else but for money for foreign travels," she added.

Elachi further refuted claims that she introduced new job scales saying that she ensured every employee was correctly graded.

"You found that staff with a diploma, degree, and PhD were in the same scale and the boss of all of them had a diploma yet they were employed at the same time. It didn't make sense. So, as the board, we regularised and ensured that every staff was on the right scale," she stated.