Siaya top officials accuse William Oduol of abusing procurement processes

Deputy Governor William Oduol. [Isaiah Gwengi, Standard]

Embattled Siaya Deputy Governor William Oduol has suffered a fresh blow after senior county officials who testified against him accused him of alleged interference in the procurement process.

The revelations emerged when County Director for Supply Chain Management Martin Okwato, a witness for Governor James Orengo’s administration, testified against Oduol.

While appearing before a 14-member special committee tasked to probe Oduol’s conduct, Mr Okwato was put to task to shed light on complaints lodged against Oduol on alleged abuse of office through interference with the procurement process.

Okwato claimed that the deputy governor interfered with the procurement process in the purchase of certified seeds and tendering of roads.

“He summoned me several times demanding that we change the procurement processes, but I declined,” Okwata told the committee.

He was the first witness the Siaya Executive presented to testify against Oduol.

During the hearing, the MCAs also sought answers on allegations that the deputy governor’s office was renovated at Sh18 million outside budgetary allocations.

Joseph Omondi, the Chief Officer for Governance, was asked to explain whether renovations were done.

In his submission, Mr Omondi said that he was involved in initiating the process following an invitation to the deputy governor’s office.

“I was called to the office and shown areas that needed repairs such as peeling floor tiles, chairs and sagging ceiling,” he said.

Omondi said that out of the Sh18 million, seats and renovation works cost Sh11 million and Sh4.9 million, respectively.

He told the committee that he was away when the acting chief officer did procurement process.

“The deputy governor once called me when he was in Mombasa and told me that he wanted to get his office done. Unfortunately, I went on leave before initiating it,” he said.

Acting Chief Officer for Finance Jared Abayo said the works were initiated when he had not taken over office.

“I can confirm that there was work to be done, but there was no budgetary allocation. We, therefore, agreed to allocate funds and did a memo to procurement,” said Mr Abayo. He added that they submitted to reallocate money from Rarieda offices and the Public Service Board.

In his defense, Mr Oduol denied all the allegations levelled against him.

“I am happy to note that I did not in any way influence the procurement of Sh18 million used for renovation in my office,” he said, adding that he had summoned Okwato to shed light on the contents of a news article.

“I want this committee to know I am nowhere in the procurement process. I do not do requisition, I do not sign anything. If procurement was done unprocedurally, the buck stops with both director of procurement and chief officer.”

He told the committee that he has issues with the way the devolved unit’s Finance department was being run.