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Raila receives report that reveals gross graft in Kisumu county assembly

POLITICS
By Geoffrey Mosoku | February 19th 2015
Chairman of Task Force on Kisumu County Assembly Oduor Ong’wen (left), presents a report of the task force established to inquire into the circumstance that lead to the disruption of normal business at the County Assemly of Kisumu to the party leader Raila. PHOTO:  GOVEDI ASUTSA.

NAIROBI: A report by a task force appointed by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party to investigate wrangles in Kisumu County has revealed damning levels of corruption and misuse of public resources by the Kisumu County Assembly.

The report handed over to party leader Raila Odinga Wednesday found, among other issues, that the Speaker and MCAs were openly flouting procurement laws while awarding themselves or their cronies tenders.

Raila promised to implement the report and hand over evidence for investigations to nab the culprits.

The four-member task force chaired by Oduor Ong'wen states that 90 per cent of the conflicts and tensions in the Kisumu county assembly emanate from or revolve around procurement of goods and services for the assembly.

Others who were part of the task force included Betty Syengo, David Olima and Ronald Ngeny.

The report indicts Speaker Anne Adul and MCAs who sit on the County Assembly Service Board (CASB) for violating the law and misappropriating monies running into millions of shillings.

The CASB members are Adul (chairperson), Majority Leader Samwel Ong'ow (vice chairperson), Minority Leader Edwin Anayo (member), Margaret Jobita (member) and the interim clerk to the assembly (secretary).

The Speaker is alleged to have used CASB funds to pay membership fees of Sh120,000 for her husband at the Karen Country Club in Nairobi, while some of the firms contracted by the assembly wired kickbacks to the bank accounts of people close to her, including her husband.

SECURITY SERVICES

"The team was informed that the deputy speaker and Speaker or firms closely linked to them had been given contracts to provide security services to the assembly but both of them denied; Hon Anayo (Minority Leader) had been contracted to provide transport services which he admitted; that Hon James Were was awarded the supply of iPads.

"Hon Were denied but every member interviewed said it was a matter of public knowledge; and that Hon Achayo was supplying water to the county assembly."

Some of the supplies said to have been sourced from CASB members or MCAs included transport services supplied by Anayo, who provided a 14-seater matatu to take MCAs to Kampala at a cost of Sh700,000; travel and air tickets by Factor Connect, which was paid Sh248,000 per member per day; security services by the deputy speaker; iPads by Were, and water and medical cover by Achayo.

For instance, either CASB or the Speaker had contracted management of the trips to a travel firm called Factor Connect, that was single sourced, to handle the tours. Factor Connect had organised trips for MCAs to Israel, US and Singapore.

"What was established beyond any shadow of doubt is the fact that there were private dealings between the Speaker and Factor Connect. Documentary evidence made available to the task force showed that between June 6, 2014, and June 24, 2014, the assembly paid a total of Sh17,305,200 to Factor Connect," the report says.

While admitting that Factor Connect was single sourced, the Speaker told the task force that the firm had been prequalified by the CASB since it had worked with 37 county assemblies to provide similar services.

But she insisted that the dealings between the assembly and Factor Connect were above board.

The team further found that the purchase of furniture was unprocedural.

The assembly's chief financial officer was asked to provide duly signed blank cheques, which were later used to the tune of Sh3.7 million. Later, Sh80,000 was paid to transport the furniture but the goods were never brought to Kisumu.

No vouchers, minutes or any supporting documents regarding the process followed in the purchase of furniture were produced.

There were also no reports to the assembly from the CASB on this matter.

POLITICAL SCORES

While responding to the claims, Anayo said those implicating them might be out to settle political scores.

"The County Public Service Board doesn't not procure any goods or services. The procurement is done by the procurement committee whose representative is the clerk," Anayo said.

Adul echoed Anayo's sentiments, saying the matter was being investigated by other constitutional bodies.

"I can't comment on a report I haven't seen but I know that issues of procurement are being investigated by EACC. We are also awaiting reports on the audit of our use of funds," Adul said.

Ong'ow said the task force would be wrong to implicate the whole CASB because not all the members were corrupt.

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