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Four county executives suspended as corruption fires up politics in Gusii region

POLITICS
By Nyambega Gisesa | August 10th 2015
Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama

Corruption and skewed employment are shaping up politics in the Gusii region with the allegations facing the counties said to have weakened the influence of CORD in the area.

The series of allegations facing the two counties where the elected leaders are from CORD, are said to have made it easier for President Uhuru Kenyatta's new party JAP, to infiltrate the region.

In the past two months, governors John Nyagarama and James Ongwae of Nyamira and Kisii respectively, have been under immense pressure to clean up their houses after both counties were adversely mentioned in the Auditor General's report over misappropriation of funds and corruption.

On Friday, Mr Nyagarama  suspended four members of his cabinet and two chief officers who are facing allegations ranging from corruption, abuse of office and misappropriation of funds to the tune of Sh100 million.

The county boss acted after the county assembly unanimously recommended that executives John Omanwa (Finance and Economic Planning), Peter Omwansa (Education and ICT), Andrew Ombati (Health), Kepher Osoro (Transport, Roads and Public Works) and chief officers Fridah Nyaboga and Ernest Morara be fired.

ISOLATED MAN

"The officers are stepping aside to await an inquiry by an ad hoc committee to interrogate the issue. I have since named other officers to act in the affected departments," Nyagarama said.

The Sh6 million that the county is said to have spent at the Busia Investment Forum as allowances is also haunting the Kisii County government as the assembly says officers allegedly pocketed Sh571,200 each from the event.

The Kisii County Assembly is also on the spot over the irregular employment of over 400 people.

The scandals in the assembly have led to the High Court calling on the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to institute investigations.

Governor Ongwae has also been on the spot after the Auditor General revealed that the county operates 64 bank accounts.

However, in a note to The Standard, Ongwae has refuted the claims saying the said the accounts were closed in September last year.

The allegations facing both the Nyamira and Kisii executives and county assemblies, are said to have put the chiefs in a tight spot.

In Nyamira , Nyagarama has become an isolated man after Senator Mong'are Bwo'Okongo, Woman Rep Alice Chae and three of the area's four MPs distanced themselves from his leadership.

Except for Borabu MP Ben Momanyi, all the other elected MPs; Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba), James Gesami (West Mugirango) and Charles Geni (North Mugirango), Senetor Mong'are Bwokong'o and Woman Representative Alice Chae have started public campaigns against the governor.

"The governor has failed our people. Asking corrupt officials to step aside is not enough. He should sack them and act on others who are also facing various allegations," Mr Bwokong'o said.

Nyagarama defended himself saying that he his being fought because he refused to give in to the selfish interests of the leaders.

"I have initiated various development projects. However, they accuse me of doing nothing because I refused to give in to their demands," he said. Already, CORD MPs Momanyi and Momoima Onyonka (Kitutu Chache) are working with the Government.

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