SUSPICIOUS PROCUREMENT

EACC probes Siaya assembly officials over Sh50m legal fees

Detectives want to understand whether the services rendered were genuine, justified or fictitious

In Summary

• Detectives on Monday quizzed acting clerk Erick Ogenga and financial and accounting director David Okumu.

• Speaker George Okode was set to be interrogated at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission offices in Kisumu on Tuesday.

Siaya assembly speaker George Okode
Siaya assembly speaker George Okode
Image: DICKENS WASONGA

EACC detectives are investigating Siaya county assembly officials over suspicious procurement of legal services amounting to Sh50 million.

Detectives on Monday quizzed acting clerk Erick Ogenga and financial and accounting director David Okumu.

Speaker George Okode was set to be interrogated at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission offices in Kisumu on Tuesday.

Also to be questioned are members of the audit committee and the assembly board.

They are expected to be questioned on Wednesday and Thursday.

Attempts to get a comment on the probe from the acting assembly clerk and the speaker were unsuccessful as they did not respond to phone calls and messages.

EACC Western region manager George Oira told the Star on Monday that the commission had invited Siaya county assembly officials for interrogations in regard to an ongoing investigation.

He did not provide details.

But a source privy to the probe, who did not want to be named, said they are seeking to unravel how the assembly procured the services of seven law firms.

The firms allegedly offered services involving questionable litigation involving the assembly and other entities and individuals.

The services were allegedly rendered and paid for by the county assembly in the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years.

“We want to have them clarify what these cases were all about, the amount paid, the firm that received the money and whether the procurement guidelines were adhered to by the assembly,” the source said.

Detectives also want to understand whether the services rendered were genuine, justified or fictitious. The assembly has been on the radar of EACC for other cases that are yet to be concluded.

In 2019, the agency launched investigations and over 40 MCAs who attended a trip to Uganda were summoned for questioning.

The probe took a strange twist when it emerged that one of those summoned included the late former Central Sakwa MCA Johannes Andiego.

According to detectives who handled the case, the name of the former MCA had featured in the list of payment schedule prepared by the assembly.

Civil rights organisations in Siaya have in the past criticised the EACC for carrying out endless investigations into the county assembly which do not lead to the arraignment of suspects.

Edited by A.N