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MCAs set up team to probe fire that razed county office

By Paul Mutua | July 26th 2019 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Dawn fire destroys property at Kitui County Finance offices. [Paul Mutua/Standard]

Kitui County Assembly has formed a committee to investigate a fire that gutted the county’s finance offices on Monday.

The seven-man committee will interview witnesses, record statements and submit findings to the assembly.

Those selected to sit in the committee are Minority Leader and Yatta-Kwavonza MCA John Kisangau, Munyallo Kitheka (Matinyani), Ngui Kiruru (Nguni), John Antony (Mutha), Fredrick Nthuri (Tharaka) and David Masakuu (Muthomo) and Mary Ndumbu (nominated).

Extent of damage

The plenary sitting chaired by Speaker George Ndotto further mandated the committee to find out the extent of the damage and whether the building was insured.

Moving the Motion, Majority Leader and Athi Ward MCA Peter Kilonzo said the committee should also inquire whether there was a backup record of documents housed in the affected offices. The team will also find out whether all county offices have complied with the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007.

Mr Kilonzo said the committee should recommend the installation of security masts and CCTV cameras at all county government premises.

“Some people in the Executive know the source of this fire and they should record statements,” he claimed.

The MCA, was backed by Wiper Party and allied colleagues, claimed the Executive panicked after the assembly raised questions on the expenditure of Sh1.7 billion meant for development projects in the 2018/19 financial year.

Seconding the Motion, Deputy Speaker and Kisasi MCA Kasee Musya said the county was headed to a crossroad.

“Devolution in this county is under attack. This assembly needs to stand with the electorate and put the county leadership into question. Things are not moving in the way they should,” said Mr Musya.

Mumoni MCA Johnson Kanandu said there was discontent among members of the public regarding the leadership path the county was taking, adding that unless things changed, the county could get into problems.

The assembly’s move comes barely a day after county Directorate of Criminal Investigations Officer Muriithi Wachira said preliminary investigations pointed to arson.

“We are focused on this matter and are investigating impeccable act of arson. We are not going round on this. At least 10 people have been questioned and recorded statements. We want to establish the motive of the crime,” said Mr Wachira.

Handling matter

County police boss Lydia Ligami said there was no need to worry as investigators were handling the matter.

“Investigations are on course. We will remain professional and we don’t want interference from any quarters,” Ms Ligami said.

She added that her office had sent samples of debris collected at the scene of the fire to the Government Chemist for analysis.

The fire destroyed financial records, among them payment vouchers and imprest forms dating back to the start of devolution in 2013.

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