Senator Boni Khalwale demands answers over Sh200m bailout

Kakamega County Senator Boni Khalwale (right) and Kakamega Finance Executive Paul Otsola during a thanksgiving service at St Paul Ejinja Catholic Parish in Matungu on Sunday. Khalwale asked him to record a statement over the expenditure of Sh200 million meant for Mumias Sugar Company. [Photo: BENJAMIN SAKWA/Standard]

KAKAMEGA: Senator Boni Khalwale has accused Governor Wycliffe Oparanya of abetting corruption.

He asked Mr Oparanya to explain how Sh200 million released by the county government to bail out Mumias Sugar Company was spent.

He alleged that the money did not reach the company because there is no evidence to show that farmers benefited from it.

"I will fight corruption in this country. MCAs passed Sh200 million for Mumias Sugar Company but Oparanya forced his county executive for Finance Paul Otsola to sign the cheque and bank it in the account of his (Oparanya) friend," said Dr Khalwale. Mumias has been facing a bumpy and winding road to recovery following doubts raised by legislators and industry stakeholders about the Sh1 billion bailout the national government gave.

But the governor dismissed the allegations, saying the list of farmers who were paid from the said cash has been released to the public.

He asked Khalwale to take the matter to court if he has sufficient proof to back his allegations, instead of engaging in "cheap politics".

"That is cheap politics. We can confirm that the money reached the intended recipients and politicians should stop playing politics with Mumias. Why can't he go to court if he has evidence? Let him continue with cheap politics. There is nothing I will do to him," Oparanya who is on an official visit to Australia said.


"What I want Otsola to do is join me in the war against graft by recording a statement with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption (EACC) giving details on where the money went to. After that, Otsola, you will be a free man," Khalwale said.

Mahiakalo ward representative Cleophas Malala had earlier called on the national government to prosecute all those on the EACC list of shame, which includes officials from the county.

Khalwale also accused the governor of failing to address the plight of the poor and the oppressed in the county.

"Let us be genuine in fighting corruption. Those who were mentioned in the EACC list should be prosecuted, including the Kakamega finance executive," said Mr Malala. Khalwale dismissed Oparanya's 'Mikopo Mashinani' programme, saying it does not benefit the electorate.

"This county government is not a bank to lend or allow people to borrow money. It should allow its residents to access funds to help them boost their business. Some of the requirements like log books and title deeds deny poor residents  access to loans," he said.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale wondered why Khalwale was busy blaming the Jubilee government for failing to fight corruption when all those he mentioned were in the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy.

"Now I am hearing your senator and governor fighting corruption. Leadership is about empowering your people and not using your people. Khalwale you can do better," Duale, who had accompanied Deputy President William Ruto in his visit to Matungu, said.