Committee wants six county officials accused of Londiani crash victims' funds misuse sacked

Kenya Red Cross volunteers in Londiani town helping residents to trace their loved ones after the crash. [File, Standard]

A report by an ad-hoc committee of the Kericho County Assembly has recommended the immediate sacking of six officials over alleged irregular misappropriation of funds meant for Londiani Junction crash victims.

The committee tasked with investigating the alleged misappropriation of Sh14.5 million raised for the victims wants Kericho Governor Erick Mutai to terminate the employment of six senior county officers linked to the Londiani Disaster Management Committee.

The Committee, led by Moses Rotich, who represents the Tendeno/Soget ward, disclosed its findings after a thorough examination of evidence, asserting that the officials had potentially violated legal provisions.

According to the findings of the probe, the senior county officers are alleged to have engaged in misconduct that includes forging minutes, permitting unauthorized fund withdrawals, and supervising the misuse of funds, all in violation of section 138 of the Public Finance Act.

This grave situation prompted the County Assembly to advise Governor Mutai to initiate dismissals, starting with County Secretary Dr Wesley Bor who chaired the Londiani Disaster Management committee at the time of the fundraising event.

The list also includes two County Executive Committee (CECs) members and three chief officers.

The report, long-awaited by the public, was presented despite the notable absence of 27 out of 47 Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) during a special session overseen by Speaker Dr Patrick Mutai.

However, the 20 MCAs who attended the session unanimously endorsed the recommendations to have the officials' dismissed.

The Assembly further recommended that the withdrawn Sh14.5 million be returned and disbursed to the 52 families who lost their loved ones and twenty-five survivors, in accordance with the intended purpose.

"The County Government of Kericho must cover all other expenses, including medical bills, for patients still hospitalized and in need of medical care," said Rotich.

He emphasized that any future committees responsible for overseeing expenditure must be duly constituted by the governor to ensure proper accountability.

The investigation also highlighted the necessity of establishing a clinical audit team within Kericho County Hospital and Londiani Sub-county Hospital to ascertain medical care costs, aligning with the constitutional provisions for the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

Moreover, the Ad Hoc committee asserted that all expenditure from donation accounts should be sanctioned by the county assembly, adhering to the legal mandates outlined in section 138 of the Public Finance Act and Article 224 of the constitution.

In response to the report, Majority Leader Phillip Rono underlined the factual basis of the findings.

"This report stands on facts, not malice," he said.

Ainamoi MCA Cheruiyot Bett revealed that the committee faced attempted bribes from some of the implicated county officers, who allegedly offered Sh300,000 to each committee member in exchange for favorable recommendations in the report.

“The lingering concern remains; if funds meant for the victims of the Londiani road crash are mismanaged, what safeguards protect public development funds from further misuse?” he said.

Kericho Deputy Governor Eng Fred Kirui was the first to blow the whistle on the Londiani fundraising scandal.