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Six finance staff quit in fallout with Governor Waititu

By Kamau Maichuhie and Roselyne Obala | Jun 17th 2019 | 3 min read
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu during a past press conference in Nairobi. He is accused of micro-managing finance unit. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Six finance officers have resigned from Kiambu County government citing disagreement with Governor Ferdinand Waititu on payments of millions of shillings to contractors.

Faith Harrison Njeru, who served as chief finance officer, four senior accountants and a procurement officer are among those who quit in the fallout over Sh900 million pending bills. 

A reshuffle of top officers Mr Waititu announced last Friday prompted the resignations, amid claims the governor had a preferred list of companies he wanted paid first, and which the officers had resisted.  

Declined transfer

Ms Harrison, who declined her transfer to the Trade and Tourism, confirmed she had resigned together with other finance officers over what she termed disagreement with Waititu over payments of pending bills.

“Yes it is true that together with a host of other finance officers from the department we decided to call it quits from the county government. The governor wanted us to first pay certain companies, to which we refused. We decided to resign instead of putting ourselves in problems,” she said.

The former chief officer said they could not agree with what the governor wanted since there were several suppliers that did business with the county government in 2014, 2015 and 2016, but were yet to be paid.

“The President recently said all contractors and suppliers with pending bills be paid, but the governor wants to hear none of it. He only wants companies he prefers paid first, which we found inappropriate,” she said.

She accused the governor of micro-managing the Finance department.

“Working with the governor has been a nightmare. He cannot allow you to work independently or make your own decision. It is pressure all the time,” she said.

Efforts to get comments from Waititu over the matter were futile, as he neither answered calls nor responded to our text messages.

In a Press release signed by County Secretary Martin Njogu on behalf of Waititu, the county chief appointed William Kimani, who was the chief officer administration, as the new chief officer in-charge of Finance and Economic Planning.

Mr Kimani had been in charge of the youth rehabilitation programme dubbed Kaa sober. The programme is under investigation for spending of Sh700 million of un-budgeted county funds. 

The governor also transferred Trade and Tourism CEC Juliet Kimemia to the Roads docket, which was being held by Mburu Kang’ethe. Mr Kang’ethe is now the new CEC for Trade and Tourism.

Bank transfers

The resignations come at a time the county chief is under investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption (EACC) over corruption allegations. 

Some of the officials who have resigned are also in focus as investigations established that about Sh200 million had been paid out to personal accounts of accountants in the county, with unsatisfactory explanations offered as reasons for the bank transfers.

The Standard is privy to insider deliberations where some of the affected officers want to help EACC with investigation.

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