MISAPPROPRIATION OF FUNDS

I didn't receive a cent of stolen Sh26m, Wajir Governor tells court

Testifying in corruption case against three county officials.

In Summary

• Abdi said he does not handle overdrafts and only the Finance executive has the powers to approve.

• The Finance CEC has overall management of the county but I don’t know who issued instructions for the withdrawal, he said.

Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi in Wajir town.
Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi in Wajir town.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi told a Nairobi court on Friday that he did not order the withdrawal of Sh25 million.

He was testifying in a case in which three county officials are accused of conspiracy to defraud the county of Sh26.1 million.

They are Ahmed Sahal Omar, Daud Abdullahi, Jeff Kithinji Mworia (all county officers) and Sayid Ibrahim (KCB Wajir branch manager). The three have denied the charges.

Omar, Abdullahi, Mworia and Sayid are accused of withdrawing the money from KCB, Wajir branch, on October 9, 2018. Abdullahi is facing a separate count of abuse of office and failure to manage public property.

It is said that between October 5 and October 9, 2018 in Wajir, Abdullahi used his office to confer a benefit of Sh26.1 million to Jeff Mworia by unlawfully authorising him to be the sole signatory of the County Government of Wajir imprest account.

Abdi said he was unaware of a request by the Finance executive for an overdraft facility of Sh25 million to Kenya Commercial Bank Wajir branch. The request was in the form of a letter and the overdraft was for payment of county employees and office expenses.

 

 “This letter has never been brought to my attention. Its contents were also never discussed in any of the CEC [county executive committee] meetings in the last financial year,” he said.

Abdi said he does not handle overdrafts and only the Finance executive has the powers to approve. The Finance CEC has overall management of the county but I don’t know who issued instructions for the withdrawal, he said.

Asked whether he received a portion of the money that is said to have been misappropriated, the governor said “No”.

The county chief said once the corruption allegations came out he contacted the Finance CEC who told him the funds were withdrawn from the bank and were used to pay casuals.

Abdi said he counter-checked with internal audit but they said the only information they had was that the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission was investigating the case.

“It’s the internal audit or external audit that can report funds have been misappropriated.  And since the matter was already in the hands of the EACC, I just had to wait. I did not pursue it any further,” he said.

During cross-examination, the governor said he has not been presented with any report from the internal auditor alluding to the loss of funds. He said at no point has his cabinet discussed the loss of Sh26 million.

 

“The county government of Wajir subjects itself for audit but I have not been presented by a report by the national audit office alluding to the loss of Sh26 million,” he said.

The governor was the last witness to testify on Friday. Prosecution closed its case after calling around 20 witnesses.

The case will be mentioned on March 5. 

Sahal is also charged with abuse of office and is accused of using his position to confer a benefit to Mworia by purporting that County Executive Committee had appointed him the signatory of the imprest account.

Mworia faces four other counts, including fraudulent acquisition of public property.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya