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Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi, cronies accused of squandering Covid-19 funds

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

Wajir County Assembly has accused the embattled Governor Mohamed Abdi of running down healthcare in the devolved unit.

In his submission, Habaswein Ward MCA Abdirahman Dahir told a senatorial impeachment committee that money allocated for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic was misappropriated, exposing the locals to a dilapidated healthcare system.

The witness swore that the county boss and his cronies conspired to squander all the money allocated to the health docket.

The submissions were made as the impeachment hearing entered its second day.

“They did not spare a dime even during the time the county is faced with Covid-19. The money allocated for health care has been mismanaged with basic services such as free county ambulances in Eldas Constituency being available for those who can pay for it, money allocated for fuel and maintenance services also found its way to personal pockets,” claimed the witness.

But Lawyer Ndegwa Njiru, representing the governor, moved to dismantle some of the claims describing the witness as “having nothing useful to add other than lies presented in the affidavit”.

He questioned the witness qualifications to determine if healthcare was not being managed as required after Dahir claimed that he has been visiting various public hospitals in the county to establish their status.

The witness could also not provide documentation to prove that money allocated for the department was squandered by the executive.

The MCA claimed that it was an open secret that Wajir County’s health care system is at its worse since independence.

“The people of Habaswein Ward have not been spared by the greed and insatiable urge for money from the team of the governor and his cronies. The Habaswein Sub County Referral Hospital has been dragged into a crisis,” he alleged.

He claimed that the Griftu Sub-County Referral Hospital was shut down after its casual laborer’s downed their tools citing poor working conditions and delayed payment of their wages.

He added that most public hospitals in the county suffer from an acute lack of medical supplies and equipment needed for the day-to-day running of the facilities.

He said that despite the county government receiving funds from various sources in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, there was little to show for the mobilised resources.

The monies included Sh5 billion conditional grant; funds from the ministry of health allocated for Covid-19 emergency allowance for frontline health care workers; Sh9,450,000 from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA); and Sh194,000,00 appropriated from the Wajir County Supplementary Budget 2019/2020.

The witness claimed that the county government embarked on a shopping spree and began the journey for the creation of Covid-19 billionaires by squandering money it had received to combat the disease.

“This was done in blatant disregard of the guidelines and caps set by the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the County Government Act, the Public Finance Act and the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act No. 33 of 2015 and the Records Disposal Act Chapter 14 of the Laws of Kenya,” he added.

Earlier, the defense lawyers sought to discount submission by Diff Ward MCA Shueb Bare Ahmed, who linked the family to several companies that traded with the county government.

Lawyer Njiru pushed the witness to provide any documentation linking the said firms to the family members of the governor. The witness could not provide form CR12 to prove directorship.

The defense team also sought to know the source of bank statements that the witness used to demonstrate how the companies wired kickbacks to the governor’s wife, Khaire Omar, immediately after they received payments.

 “It is your evidence that the first lady has been running affairs of the county. Which department of the county; the executive or the assembly? You have said that for you to be paid you have to seek the blessings of the first lady, what kind of blessings?” posed the lawyer.

“I want you to take us to that particular accounts that you said have received the monies. How did you get hold of the bank statement?’ he went on.

The MCA said he obtained the documents from a whistleblower, who he could not name.

The witness could also not provide documentary evidence that the governor’s spouse chaired several meetings of the executive.

When pressed, he said some of the meetings were informal as they took place at the governor’s private home.

The committee suggested that they may consider writing to banks named in the transactions to authenticate bank statements provided by the county assembly.

“There has been question on the source of documents. I want to be on record that if we compel the said institutions to provide the documents, is it what you have attached that we will get?’ Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja posed.

 

Covid 19 Time Series

 

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