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Governor’s wife, children linked to loss of millions

By Moses Nyamori | May 13th 2021
Wajir Governor Mohamud Abdi during his impeachment debate at Senate chambers, parliament buildings, Nairobi on May 12, 2021 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The family of embattled Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud was yesterday placed at the heart of the alleged irregular multi-million shilling contracts that have formed the basis of his impeachment.

Mr Mohamud’s wife, Khaire Omar Maalim, daughter Farhiya Mohamed Abdi and son Yusuf Mohamed have been linked to several tenders entered by the county government, in which the taxpayers could have lost millions of shillings.

Submissions by the assembly show that a withdrawal of Sh8 million from the county revolving fund was made to allegedly finance a fashion show for the governor’s daughter at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

The assembly also tried to link several companies to the family, with the governor’s wife thought to have received money deposits from directors of some of the firms trading with the county government.

Family summoned

A request by senior counsel Ahmednassir Abdulahi, who is representing the county assembly to have the three family member appear before the Senate team was, however, declined.

Mr Ahmednassir claimed Khaire had played a monumental role in the degradation of good governance in the county.

“They are telling you that a governor can commit all offenses with his wife and children, but cannot be called to account. Will we hide under the cover of wife and children?” posed the lead counsel of the assembly.

“The governor and his family have ruled the county administration in ad hoc manner outside the precincts of the constitution and the County Government Act. The governor’s wife is the foundation of the impeachment case by the county assembly,” said the senior counsel.

But the Senate Committee chaired by Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni ruled that the assembly was free to adduce evidence linking the family without having them appear for cross-examination.

However, Governor Moahmud dismissed the claims against him as malicious and political witch-hunt.

“I am optimistic that this committee will finally bring to an end the trumped-up charges aimed at my person, character and integrity,” said Mohamud. He told the team he would cooperate in the probe to assist in dismissing the unsubstantiated claims that do not meet the threshold of impeaching a governor.

“I would like to categorically state that I will fully cooperate with the committee and assist it in establishing the truth that the charges levelled against me are unsubstantiated,” he said.

He listed some of his development records in a bid to dismiss claims that he had run down the county by allowing his wife to run the operations of the county.

He said his administration had been in the forefront in establishing a working relationship with the County Assembly, stating that they had proactively initiated equity projects from the ward level.

Lawyer Njiru Mdegwa appearing for Wajir Governor Mohamud Abdi during his impeachment debate at Senate chambers, Parliament buildings, Nairobi. May 12, 2021 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Mohamud pleaded with the committee to look at the unique circumstances the Somali community finds itself in its decision making and formation of governance structures in all its counties through negotiated democracy.

“In the fullness of time, my lawyers will establish, through tendering of evidence, the circumstances that informed and influenced the impeachment. I have full confidence in the committee’s work and its final outcome,” he added.

Linked the family

An affidavit by Diff Ward MCA Shueb Bare Ahmed linked the family to several companies that traded with the county government.

He claimed in mid-October 2017, the Governor instructed contractors engaged by the county for various works to get in touch with his wife for purposes of making cash payments to her.

He claimed the operations were that these contractors would be paid money by the County Government of Wajir before submitting a portion to the governor’s spouse as a kickback.

The assembly also linked the governor to one Osman Abdi Jimale, who owns several companies that traded with the county government. The witness claimed the fact that Jimale had been paid Sh305,447,589 by the county Executive when there were unpaid pending bills from 2017 was an indication that the governor was a beneficiary of the payments.

The witness cited Zulma Construction and General Supplies Limited, R8 Enterprises Limited, Leisland General Merchants Limited, Daayo Construction and General Supplies Limited, Y-Tree, Leisland General Merchants Limited, Leyli General Supplies Limited and Buildlink Investments Limited as some of the firms owned by Jimale.

He claimed Jimale deposited Sh1 million into Kheira’s bank account on November 11, 2017, money which he linked to a tender awarded to Fine Construction Company Limited and Leisland General Merchants Limited.

“According to the statements held by Central Bank of Kenya, Leisland General Merchants Limited was paid the sum of Sh3,581,274.85 on June 28, 2018 and on July 3, 2018 a further payment of Sh3,213,959.80 was done to Leisland General Merchants confirms indeed that this is a company that is paid by the County Government of Wajir for tenders secured,” said the witness.

The witness said that in mid-January 2018, the governor exhausted his budget and instructed the former CEC Finance to use a substantial portion of his department’s budget for purchasing a Land Cruiser for the governor.

The then CEC Finance allegedly declined to run the advertisement, but the decision was allegedly overruled by the governor.

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