EACC probes Elachi, assembly board over staff promotions

Gender Chief Administrative Secretary and former Speaker Beatrice Elachi [File]

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has launched investigations against Gender Chief Administrative Secretary Beatrice Elachi over the promotion of 28 senior officers when she served as Nairobi County Assembly Speaker.

The anti-graft agency is probing alleged irregular promotion of staff between 2017 and 2020 by Elachi who was then Speaker and Chair of the Nairobi City County Assembly Service Board.

The CAS and the board have been accused of undertaking the promotions in total disregard of the law and due process.

This was revealed through a letter by EACC to the clerk of the assembly dated September 22.

“The Commission pursuant to its constitutional and statutory mandate is investigating allegations of abuse of office against Hon Beatrice Elachi, the former Speaker and Chair, Nairobi City County Assembly Service Board, and the illegal conduct of the Board,” read the letter in part.

A media brief seen by The Standard further indicated that the former Speaker and the board are being accused of carrying out promotions without requisite budgetary provisions.

In 2019, the board reportedly did not make budgetary provisions nor engage the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) to cater for the promotions.

The document states that this strained the budget and led to suspension of critical services to allow the assembly to pay salaries, leading to the creation of pending bills amounting to Sh51 million by the end of the financial year, 2020/2021.

The board is also accused of alleged discrimination and bias in conducting direct appointments “favouring contract employees related to the chairperson of the board as of 2019.” It also alleged that the board indiscriminately handled the internship program.

“The Assembly had a total of 18 interns as of May 2020 but the board abruptly and without cause terminated the services of all interns except a few. Later on, other interns who had been terminated were recalled and employed on contract. Additionally, some of these officers continued to earn salaries without contracts of employment, occasioning the loss of public funds,” stated the document.

There are also claims of disregard for schemes of service in terms of qualification and experience where some officers were allegedly promoted to positions not qualified for, others were promoted and appointed to positions that were not vacant, resulting in overlaps, redundancies and loss of funds.

“Number of officers promoted in certain positions exceeded the advertised positions causing overlaps and redundancies- for instance 10 senior clerk assistants positions were advertised however 13 appointments were made,” read the document.

Moreover, the decision by the board to create two offices of the Deputy Clerk in July 2020, is also a matter of concern to the anti-graft agency.

“….irregular upgrading of the Deputy Clerk’s Position to Grade 12 without a job evaluation or advice from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), where the current Deputy Clerk Administration was formerly in Scale 8 and was superseded to Scale 12 and in contravention of Civil Service Code of Regulations, and Section 21 the County Assembly Services Act, 2017, which contemplates a Deputy Clerk, and not Deputy Clerks,” further states the document.

It also brought to the fore that while the Board in 2018 had commissioned and adopted the recommendations by Deloitte and Touché for implementation, a new reconstituted Board in 2019 ignored the same despite the firm having been paid upwards of Sh6 million for the organisational review.

Consequently, EACC is now requesting to be furnished with documents to aid with the ongoing probe.

They include the Nairobi City County Assembly Human Resource Policies and Procedures Manual, the approved board’s scheme of service, and organisational structure from 2014, the Deloitte and Touche Consultancy report (including the contract for the provision of consultancy services, LSOs, invoices, and payment vouchers for the consultancy services) and the minutes of the Board approving the engagement of Deloitte to review the board’s organizational structure and approving the final report of Deloitte as well as a copy of the internal advertisement for the positions which were advertised in June 2020.

It also requires to be furnished with personal files for the Deputy Clerk Administration and all Directors of the Nairobi County Assembly Service Board (NCASB), list of principal officers, senior officers, and all officers given direct appointments;

Other documents required are approved budget for the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 financial years, staff payroll for May to December 2020, and the payroll for all staff on contract for May to December 2020 among other documents.

“Our officers Peter Mwita and Kennedy Mwukenya will be available to receive the documents on or before September 29 and record your statement,” added the EACC letter signed by Emily Ibeere for the Chief Executive officer.

Sought for comment, Elachi however said she was yet to receive the letter from EACC but would follow up on the issue.

"I have not received any letter from EACC. If they don't write to me a letter how am i supposed to know that i am being accused of the same? The office of the Speaker is however a perpetual office and the one occupying it now should be able to avail the documents requested by EACC," she said.