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January 22, 2019

EACC summons Wangamati to explain claims of illegal hires

Bungoma governor Wyclife Wangamati in his office /JOHN NALIANYA
Bungoma governor Wyclife Wangamati in his office /JOHN NALIANYA

The EACC has summoned Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wangamati, County Public Service Board members and some senior staff over alleged irregular hiring of cronies and awarding of hefty salaries.

In a letter dated September 4, the regional manager of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission summoned Wangamati, PSB chairperson Gideon Sirai and board members Elizabeth Wanyonyi, Peter Masengeli, Steven Wesonga and Bonivenja Wasikoyo. Others summoned are human resource manager Mathias Wanyela, county secretary Murumba Chiuli and deputy county secretary Chrisantus Wamalwa.

They are to report at the EACC regional offices at Central Square building in Kisumu on Monday to explain how they employed people without academic credentials and awarded them salaries without following guidelines.

“The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is carrying out investigations ... Kindly inform the following to appear before our officers at Central Square building in Kisumu without fail,” the letter reads.

Investigators from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the EACC have been camping at the Bungoma county headquarters for two weeks investigating the hiring.

Last week, a member of the investigating team who sought anonymity said, “Most of those involved have recorded statements and once we are done, we will see what action to take, most likely taking them to court.”

On Friday, county director of communication Tim Machi said it is up to the investigating team to determine if the hiring was irregular. He saidWangamati  is on the record saying he won’t tolerate corruption.

Machi said investigations are also underway in other counties and Bungoma is not an isolated case.

Last month, lobby groups led by Moses Lukoye petitioned the EACC, DCI and the DPP to investigate the county government over alleged irregular appointments. In their petitions they outlined how people with no education background had been awarded positions in Job Groups N and M, which are meant for university graduates.

“The governor is personally involved in this. We will move to the highest court in land,” Lukoye said.

He said the governor had introduced positions that were non-existent in the county establishment and didn’t follow the law by involving the assembly as required.

Last month, EACC officers were at the Bungoma county assembly and the government offices to investigate allegations of abuse of office and general corruption. “We are investigating abuse of office and corruption because we have many petitions by members of the public on irregular appointments,” an EACC officer, who did not want to be named, said.

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