The County Assembly Public Service Board yesterday dismissed claims that six assembly officials conspired to defraud the city of Sh999,000.
The officers were said to have paid Sh999,926 for books that were never delivered in the 2016-17 financial years. But board vice chairperson Abdi Guyo said the books are stored in the assembly premises.
“The procurement followed due process and all the procedures and laws. The books are kept in the store within the county assembly precincts,” he told the Star.
Other members of the board are the speaker, Minority leader, clerk and a member of the public. The speaker is the chairperson and the clerk is the secretary. Guyo is the vice chairperson by virtue of his position as Majority leader.
His reaction came two days after the arrest of three assembly officers. They are senior Finance and Planning officer Fredrick Mwangi, principal accountant Philomena Nzuki and deputy clerk Adah Onyango. They are to be arraigned today.
DPP Nordin Haji sanctioned the arrests after receiving the DCI investigation file. Investigations began in June.
“The investigations established that the tender was never advertised and the quotations used during the process were irregularly prepared by the procurement offices,” Haji said in a statement on Friday.
The police were still looking for three others — James Kaguma (senior procurement officer), Jacob Ngwele (clerk) and Raphael Maluki (the owner of Primara Ventures).
Primara Ventures is the company that allegedly received the payment for supplying the books. The books were to be used in the county assembly resource centre.
The DPP said that on June 29 investigators had established that no books were supplied and the money was irregularly paid.
“The DCI submitted the inquiry file recommending that the six suspects be charged with various economic crimes,” he said.
But Guyo said, “The books were delivered and it is just a matter of time before the officers are vindicated.”
Hours after the arrest of the officers on Friday, a senior official at the assembly, acting on the board’s directions, took journalists on a fact-finding mission to the store to establish whether the books had been supplied. “The books are here unless they are talking about other books that we don’t know,” the officer said.
In June, county assembly speaker Beatrice Elachi wrote to the DCI to probe financial operations at City Hall. She claimed to have discovered many cases of financial malpractices, including illegal procurement that was done by the Office of the Clerk.
In a previous interview with the Star, Elachi said her main interest was to ensure prudent financial management.
“Everyone will carry their own cross, as the President said. There is a lot of double payment and some issues members raised way back, but nobody could answer those questions,” she said.
A week later after DCI detectives were seen walking in and out of the premises of the assembly, Elachi and clerk Ngwele seemed to have fallen out over the investigations.
The two were seen arguing bitterly in the assembly’s corridor in the presence of City Hall reporters.