Bribery allegations have emerged at the Nairobi County Assembly amid a push by ward representatives to reinstate over 100 suspended employees.
On Tuesday last week, the assembly urged all employees and executives suspended by Governor Mike Sonko – but who are still on full pay and not embroiled in graft allegations – to resume duty in a bid to forestall the collapse of service delivery.
It is claimed that some of the suspended officers – specifically from the department of Urban Planning – had bribed the MCAs thus prompting the spirited fight to have them resume duty.
This was revealed by Speaker Beatrice Elachi during last week’s special sitting that had been convened by the MCAs to discuss county matters in light of the leadership vacuum created following Sonko’s prosecution last month.
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“My office is perturbed by unfounded allegations that officers from the Planning department have raised money to bribe a section of the members, including the Office of the Speaker, in order to influence their return to office,” said Ms Elachi.
The speaker then accused an MCA who was a former chairman of a House committee being behind the allegations.
“This is an allegation that this House – let alone the Office of the Speaker – cannot take lightly. As such, if there is any member with such information, they should provide it to the relevant State agencies, in particular the Directorate of Criminal investigations or the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to take up this matter to unravel the truth,” she said.
Elachi also noted that by pushing for the return of the suspended officials, the MCAs were “practising their mandate to legislate for the county government and to exercise oversight over the county executive committee and any of its organs.”
Prior to Thursday’s meeting, divisions had played out among the 122 MCAs, who seemed to be singing a different tune from what they had stated in a joint statement released on Tuesday.
During that kamukunji, all the MCAs and the speaker closed ranks and issued a statement supporting the war on corruption.
They also resolved that the suspended workers should resume their duties within two weeks.
But the following day, two camps emerged with divergent views.
Ward reps led by Imara Daima MCA Kennedy Obuya said the statement issued by Elachi was “rushed”. Mr Obuya also claimed he had advised the speaker to wait before making the pronouncement.
“We respect the fight by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga thus we cannot allow people suspended on corruption allegations to return to office. We had warned the speaker against making the pronouncement but she ignored us,” said Obuya.
Another camp led by Majority Leader Charles Thuo said they wished to clarify Elachi’s statement. Mr Thuo stressed that members were calling for the reinstatement of only those suspended officials who did not have court cases.