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Top officials under probe over forged certificates

By Stanley Ongwae AND Grace Wekesa | February 9th 2017

At least 15 senior county government officers are being investigated over claims they used forged certificates to get their jobs.

Reports have it that the officials may have also presented the fake academic documents while seeking salary increment and promotions.

Sources at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said action will be taken against the officials, working in different departments, if the claims are proved.

"Our investigations into the issue of fake certificates is at an advanced stage. However, our focus at the moment is on the irregular recruitment at the gender department," said the source who could not be named because he is not authorised to speak for EACC.

At least 10 of those under investigations are in the ranks of director to senior director. "Cases of employees using fake certificates are widespread across the departments," said the source.

Some of the 61 people hired at the gender department before their appointments were nullified by the Public Service Board are also thought to have presented the fake certificates under scrutiny.

"Some employees may have been placed in higher job grades after presenting questionable certificates and are therefore earning undeserved wages and allowances at the expense of the tax payer," the source said.

Public Service Board chief executive Robert Mochache, however, said they are yet to get a formal communication over the investigations.

Mochache exonerated his board from blame, saying they have no expertise to identify fake certificates. "It is the institutions where these people trained that are better placed to advice on such cases."

"When we receive certificates, it is difficult for us to single out those that are not genuine. We would appreciate if we got the names of the people alleged to have such documents so we can take the necessary steps," said Mochache.

The source added EACC is also investigating claims that the county government has ghost workers.

Last week, detectives ransacked offices of County Secretary Eric Onchana, Public Service Board and gender executive Peter Ogwara, and took away computers and files. They too away more files from county treasury.

This came as county grapples with seven cases launched against it by individuals and institutions over increased wage bill and alleged lack of accountability.

Meanwhile, Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka has revoked recruitment of 230 enforcement officers.

Lusaka made the announcement after locals and MCAs questioned the criteria used to hire the officials.

He called for an audit after which a fresh recruitment, factoring regional balance, will be conducted.

Lusaka who spoke at Ndengelwa yesterday said: "We want the process to be representative and free from any bias. We have called for a comprehensive audit of the recruitment to ensure we have a balance."

Khalaba MCA Majimbo Okumu said it was wrong for Lusaka to remain mum over the matter until it was highlighted by the county assembly.

"We do not like this reactionary style of management. He did not need to wait for us to raise the red flag for him to react yet the issue was at his desk the whole time," Okumu said.

The executive hired 230 instead of 80 officers. Some Sh172 million was set aside for hiring the officials.

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