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Kisumu MCAs in trouble over fraud claims

By Kevine Omollo | November 11th 2020
Kisumu County Assembly office (PHOTO: FILE)

Anxiety has gripped Kisumu County Assembly after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) summoned members of a committee to shade light into an alleged Sh10.4 million fraud.

The ward reps allegedly received the amount during the 2018/2019 financial year as honorarium allowances during the budget-making process.

The anti-graft agency launched the probe last year and has been digging through documents to establish whether millions of taxpayer’s money could have been lost through fictitious payments.

According to a letter by the agency to the County Assembly Clerk, the ward reps are required between November 11 and November 18 to record their statements.

The letter dated November 9 written by EACC Deputy Regional director Aura Chibole also indicates that the MCAs are expected to carry documents that are relevant to the matter when they appear before the detectives.

“The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating a case concerning the allegation of corrupt conduct and irregular payment (during the budget committee meetings) where staff and Members of the County Assembly were paid honorarium allowances,” read the letter in part.

The suspected fraud came into the limelight in 2019 when auditors from the office of the Auditor-General blew the lid on the payments and said the ward reps could have received the money irregularly.

A report by the auditors indicated that the ward reps received between Sh40,000 and Sh400,000 while another senior official pocketed Sh1.2 million.

The auditor general indicated that it was unclear the Salaries and Remuneration Circular the County Assembly had relied on to implement the payments.

The payments were among some issues the audit revealed even as it emerged that some ward reps could have also received payment despite not attending any sittings.

On Wednesday however, several MCAs on the EACC list told The Standard in anonymity that they will defend themselves and claimed the payments were not irregular.

“I will appear before the commission and share with them any necessary information they will ask but there was no single anomaly in the payments,” said an MCA.

The Standard established that some MCAs were forced to shelve their plans to travel to Naivasha where they are set to attend a bonding meeting with the Executive.

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