SECTIONS

Probe commission hears of tree planting saga

Makueni County Assembly Majority Leader Francis Mutuku being helped by a clerk during commission proceedings to probe a petition to dissolve the county. He linked deputy governor Adelina Mwau to the tree saga. [PHOTO: PHILIP MUASYA/STANDARD]

A witness at the commission probing a petition to dissolve the county government sought to link Makueni deputy governor Adelina Mwau to a controversial tree planting project that gobbled up millions of public funds.

Makueni Assembly Majority Leader Francis Mutuku yesterday linked Ms Mwau to the tree planting saga for which members of county assemblies (MCAs) claimed public funds were lost as there was little to show on the ground.

Mr Mutuku claimed Mwau supplied tree seedlings and received money as payment when in actual sense no such trees were planted.

A case in point was in Kavata Nzou area where he claimed an investigation by a select committee of the assembly showed that 18, 000 tree seedlings were supplied and planted but on the ground it was revealed less than 500 tree seedlings were planted.

Citing also a special cabinet investigations committee report established by the governor to probe the matter, Mutuku also linked the deputy governor to the supply of tree seedlings at Kikoko Girls in Kilungu.

Challenged by the Executive’s counsel Wilfred Nyamu to show evidence linking Mwau to the saga, Mr Mutuku replied: “Bank statements of the supplier will show us who benefited, I’m sure it is the deputy governor.”

investigating MATTER

Following the allegations made by Mutuku on the deputy governor, commission’s chairman Mohamed Nyaoga directed the commission’s investigators to probe the matter “and get to the bottom of it.”

“We have the teeth to look into the matter and get to its bottom. “We will look at all documents and even bank statements to establish the truth,” Mr Nyaoga said, adding that the commission will order for the production of all documents touching on the saga.

Following the scandal, some senior officials in Kibwana’s government who were adversely mentioned were sent packing.

Mutuku, however, told the commission he regretted describing the governor an activist in a past video recording which was played in the commission but said he was against looting of public resources by “a section of the county executive.”

And the witness who allegedly lied to the commission was yesterday morning arraigned before the commission by Criminal Investigation Department officers.

Peter Mwanthi was arrested by police officers from Athi River police station in Machakos county where CID officers from Wote went to pick him.

Orders to arrest Mr Mwanthi was issued by last week by Mr Nyaoga after the witness, a former councillor appeared before the commission claiming to represent Makueni County Amani Association which turned out to be untrue.

He brought to the commission documents he claimed were registration certificates of the outfit and will be cross examined today. Mr Nyaoga directed Wote CID officers to carry out investigation.

extremes

The commission was formed following a public petition that argued the County Executive and the Assembly arms were operating at extremes and that the  county government had broken down and was completely dysfunctional.

It cited the feuding between the rival camps - one under the governor Kibwana and another one under the Assembly Speaker Stephen Ngelu.

Because of the soaring relations the petition stated the County Executive Committee was unable to implement legislation because some of the laws passed by the assembly were unconstitutional.

Also the County Executive Committee had failed to effectively manage its departments in order to ensure timely implementation of projects because of the conflict.