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THEFT OF ECDE BUILDING MATERIALS

MCAs reject Sang's graft probe committee

Cite lack of independence from governor, say members are too junior to investigate their bosses.

In Summary

• Nandi Hills MCA says committee will tailor report to satisfy governor. MCAs say they'll form a parallel team.

• 16, including three CECs, arrested over massive theft of building materials for more than 60 ECDE centres. 

Nandi governor Stephen Sang speaking during Madaraka day celebrations in Nandi-Hills./BARRY SALIL
Nandi governor Stephen Sang speaking during Madaraka day celebrations in Nandi-Hills./BARRY SALIL

Sharp differences have erupted between Nandi Governor Stephen Sang and the county assembly over his appointment of an ad hoc team to investigate graft.

The assembly rejected a seven-person committee charged with establishing the extent of corruption and those responsible within 30 days.

Sang appointed the team after removing 16 top officers implicated in graft. They include CECs, two chief officers, procurement officers and project managers. They were arrested.

 
 

Cases involve the massive theft of building materials for more than 60 ECDE centres, which have stalled. The Education department allegedly is involved in the theft that hurts nursery schools.

MCAs led by Emmanuel Rono (Ol’Lessos), Osborn Komen (Terik), Fred Kipkemboi (Kapsabet), Gideon Koech (Nandi Hills) and Teresa Mayo (Nominated) dismissed Sang's appointments as cosmetic.

They said the team lacks independence as they are junior officers who cannot properly investigate their bosses.

“They will report directly to the executive and we know they will give a report tailored the way the governor wants it done,” Koech said.

On Tuesday Sang appointed a team comprised of Timon Lel, Edwin Maiyo, Mary Kemei, Amon Muge, Nancy Jeruto, Nelson Lagat and Carol Lagat to investigate.

Tempers flared during the Tuesday afternoon session as MCAs resolved to appoint a parallel ad hoc committee whose findings would be tabled in the House.

“Let it be on the record that we have no confidence in that committee and apart from having our own, we also want the EACC and DCI to have their own team to help us stop the mess,” Rono said.

 
 

The representatives said they felt cheated because despite fiscal year 2018-19 coming to an end, not one ECDE classroom in the 60 centres budgeted for had been constructed.

The county had allocated Sh114 million for the 60 centres. Each was to receive Sh1.9 million.

“The money is not there and the centres have not been constructed. What we are asking is where the funds we factored in and itemised in the budget are,” Rono added.

The assembly also questioned why the team from the Auditor General's office only inspected county account books instead of visiting the projects to establish if they exist.

Efforts by the Majority leader David Koech to defend the executive failed as the entire assembly turned hostile.

The members threatened to strip him of the position for 'siding with the governor against the war on graft'.

Nandi Hills' Koech said they will only accept an ad hoc committee that's fully independent. He said it should include members of the civil society, religious leaders and people of integrity. 

Kipkemboi said the assembly would impeach more CECs for graft and nepotism.

They tried to sack the Education executive Valentine Chumo for alleged incompetence but she got a temporary restraining order. She blamed problems on predecessors.

(Edited by R.Wamochie)