How Wajir governor’s wife took over running of county

Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud before Senate Committee. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Wajir County Assembly has, in a memorandum, told the Senate team probing the impeachment of Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud how his “supreme” wife took over the running of the county.

Members of the County Assembly said that top senior government officials in the devolved unit were fired at the whims of Mrs Kheria Omar.

The assembly linked the governor’s spouse to a constant reshuffling of Chief Officers in the Finance department six times within two years, in what it claimed was aimed at destabilising the docket to allow the siphoning of public funds through dubious contracts.

The MCAs said that the unpredictability of the tenure of the office was now largely dependent on the “constantly changing mood and liking of the Governor’s wife”.

The governor is accused of allowing his spouse to literally run the affairs of the county as the de facto authority.

“It was an open secret in Wajir County and far beyond its borders that Mrs. Kheira Omar is the ‘supreme’ leader of the County and it is always her way or the highway,” said the assembly in a set of charges against the governor.

“This has caused ridicule and disrepute to the high office of the County Governor. Therefore, it was the view of the county assembly that the decision by the Governor to relinquish the executive powers vested on him constitutionally and derived from the people, amounted to an abuse of office and relegation of duties,” the charges added.

The assembly has also accused the governor of awarding contracts running into millions of shillings to companies associated with his family.

For instance, out of the sum of Sh95,241,305.78 for roads, transport and public works which was meant to pay 15 companies, none of the 15 listed companies were paid except Halane Construction Limited which was paid Sh43,805,207.50.

The money was allegedly paid on November 20, 2019, six days before the County had even made the request for the funds, making the payment suspect and fraudulent.

The other 14 companies listed alongside Halane Construction Company in the letter requesting for funds were not paid, but instead, the sum of Sh51,436,101.28 was diverted to other companies other than the intended payees.

Another tender for the supply of relief food and assorted items for humanitarian needs was awarded to Leyli General Contractors Co. Limited, which is allegedly associated with the Governor and his family, the House team heard. 

“Contrary to the law, the company was allowed to supply items at an inflated rate. For instance, the company supplied 42,857 bales of maize meal (ugali) flour at a cost of 3,500 per bale totalling Sh149,999,500 contrary to the local market price of Sh1,600 per bale. Further, some items have not been 100 per delivered, for instance sleeping mat and Tarpaulin,” the charges add.

The senate committee is chaired by Sen. Okongó Omogeni (Nyamira). Its members are Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Mwangi Githiomi (Nyandarua), Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Godana Hargura (Marsabit) and Mithika Linturi (Meru).

Others are Fred Outa (Kisumu), Agnes Muthama (Machakos), Issa Juma (Kwale) and nominated Senators Petronilla Were and Christine Zawadi.