Murang'a suppliers hold 'street protests' to demand money

Murang'a Governor Irungu Kang'ata. [File, Sandard]

A month ago, Frasia Wambui Mwangi had to stage a protest at the Murang'a county government offices demanding her dues. The blind trader remained outside the county government headquarters for hours, whistling before her cry attracted senior officials.

Wambui said her efforts to be paid Sh340,000 for the supply of two laptops she had made to the county through a World Bank-funded project were being delayed by the treasury department.

"I had to camp at the facility after I established that Governor Irungu Kang'ata had the will, but some of the staff remained ignorant," said Wambui. She was lucky, and after camping at the offices for a week, the county government settled the debt.

Jane Nyambura said her mother was diagnosed with depression after years of trying to get payment from the Murang'a county government of ShSh3.4 million backdated to 2017/2018.

The family assets, she said, risked being auctioned over the loans acquired to support the tenders. "We came together and raised the money as a family to offset the loans to save the property from being sold by the banks," said Nyambura.

Governor Kang'ata, on September 16, last year, constituted a pending bills review committee to verify the pending bills inherited from the administration of the predecessor Mwangi wa Iria of Sh2,477,1998,425 from 616 traders and suppliers.

Kang'ata said in the payment plan, his administration will start with those owed below Sh1.6 million, as 224 claims amounting to Sh1,580,270,035 were discovered not recommendable for payment.

The committee resolved that only 174 claims amounting to Sh646,989,852 were found genuine. The pending bill's report sparked protests, with Edwin Gathaiya moving to court to challenge the decision, demanding that the report be declared null and void.

He moved to court seeking orders barring the county government of Murang'a from paying contractors up to Sh2.7 billion based on findings of a recent report on pending bills.

Laikipia County Government has embarked on verifying pending bills it inherited from the previous administration. A committee appointed by Governor Joshua Irungu tasked with verifying Sh1.6 billion pending bills has been receiving documents from traders claiming payments.

Finance and Planning Chief Officer Daniel Ngumi said the committee has three months to compile the report on the pending bills. "The committee has received claims worth Sh2.8 billion from the traders and suppliers, who were contracted by the former regime," said Ngumi.