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OTTICHILO PUT ON THE SPOT

Vihiga contractors want county barred from hiring 'foreign' firms

The Vihiga government has yet to comply with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive that all counties clear pending bills

In Summary

• Counties were directed to pay pending bills within 30 days from June 1

• The governor accused of outsourcing contractors from outside the county

Vihiga Governor Ottichilo in Mbale Grounds
Vihiga Governor Ottichilo in Mbale Grounds
Image: MARTIN OMBIMA

Local Vihiga contractors plan to stop the county government from hiring their counterparts from other counties or countries for services they can offer.

Chairman Moses Diru yesterday said they will seek a court order. The remark was made following fears that the county is working with external contractors after failing to clear current pending bills. They say the county will delay their payments if it gets services from external firms. 

 

“The governor is outsourcing contractors from outside the county. He pays them in full for their jobs whereas he hasn’t cleared our debts,” Diru said.

He said local contractors are taken for granted as some of their foreign counterparts are paid before completing their work. Companies that were paid their dues before working were Rural Electrical, Geo-inter Company, Bungoma Chemist Ltd, Buba Company and Juoaco SPS ltd.

The Vihiga government has yet to comply with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive that all counties clear pending bills. Uhuru made gave the directive while delivering his speech on Madaraka Day in Narok.

The devolved units had 30 days to act. This gave hope to more than 120 Vihiga contractors and suppliers who had not been paid after completing projects or providing goods or services.  They demand more than Sh400 million.

Things are not coming up to their expectations. The county assembly failed to allocate funds for pending bills in the 2019-20 budget. The contractors have accused Governor Wilber Ottichilo and his administration of not being dedicated to paying their arrears, some as old as four years.

Yesterday, the chairman of the contractors, Moses Diru, said Ottichilo promised to clear all pending bills in the first 100 days of his administration. It is nearing two years since he took the oath of office but nothing has been done. Diru spoke in Mbale. He said they have suffered enough and are unable to provide for their families. 

"We have been impoverished and reduced to beggars, having lost all our money and investments to the financial institutions as we used our own money to fund the projects we undertook for the county government,” Diru said.

(Edited by F'Orieny)