Senior Siaya staff under probe for swiping millions from county coffers
The anti-graft agency sleuths are pursuing senior Siaya county staffs who allegedly made questionable withdrawals worth KSh 400 million from the county coffers in less than a fortnight during the transition period.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officials are also investigating claims of fraudulent acquisition of public funds amounting to KSh 72 million in the installation of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) unit at Siaya Referral Hospital.
On the radar of the moral agency, are the County Executive Officers (CECs) who served under the former county boss Cornel Rasanga.
The investigators are probing how Sh112million was channeled through the Executive bank account to clerks of various county Assembly committees with three of them receiving up to five payments in a day ranging between KSh 650,000 and KSh 716,000 under the imprest account.
The commission claims one staff received three payments including KSh 200,000 travel allowance, KSh 425,000 for Daily subsistence Allowance (DSA) and KSh125, 000 for bank service commission charge, respectively.
According to EACC’s Head of Corporate Affairs and Communication Eric Ngumbi, the questionable withdrawals were effected by the executive officers who paid themselves hefty payments during the transition period after the August 9th general election.
“Investigations are ongoing to inform appropriate legal action including criminal prosecution of any culpable persons and recovery of the stolen public funds,” says Ngumbi in a statement to press.
“It is alleged that the senior county officials made suspicious withdrawals amounting to sh400million within 12 days of the August 2022 election period, in total disregard of moratorium stopping procurement, payment of allowances and pending bills by the new governor.”
The suspicious allowances for paid as followed, Sh K225, 000 for travel cost, KSh 93,00 tuition fees, KSh 200,000 accommodation, another KSh 250,000 for tuition fees and finally KSh 120,000 for advertising awareness and publicity campaign.
A support staff officer, he said, received KSh 748,000 for purported contracted technical services.
The detectives are also targeting the staffS over allegation of abuse office and fraudulent acquisition of an ICU unit flouting the finance and procurement laws.
Suspects are on the spot over possible loss of public funds amounting to Sh72million in the procurement for installation and equipment of an ICU unit at the Siaya Referral Hospital by the county government.
“It is alleged that the funds were disbursed when the hospital opened an ICU department but no equipment was purchased. Instead, the county government installed ventilators that had earlier been donated by Kijabe Hospital,” he says.
He adds, “It is further alleged that staff who objected to the fraudulent activities were transferred and replaced with new ones who were irregularly employed, without any advertisement. the new team is reported to have gone ahead to facilitated the fraudulent scheme.
As the Maj rtd Twalib Mbarak team camped at the county, even as governor James Orengo disclosed he sanctioned an independent comprehensive forensic audit to unearth the alleged graft by a team of experts.
“This is the only path way to towards eradicating endemic and systemic corruption in Siaya. Indeed, without mincing words, the treasury in Siaya is rotten,” Orengo stated in a statement released on Wednesday.
The county chief said although the public is aware that EACC is also conducting investigations of cases of misappropriation within the county government, parallel probe is the right thing to do and must be expedited.
“We have stopped payment of pending bills until verification and confirmation, save in the cases of essential services and emergencies. No procurement are being undertaken nor new contracts awarded until we are done with the application of prompt and effective interventions,” said Orengo.
He said the county will not to pay or engage in any financial transactions without direct authourity until advised otherwise.
“I want to assure the people of Siaya that nothing will be spared and nobody will be spared,” stressed Orengo.