• Senators have said the mysterious fires that have burned down finance offices in at least five counties are pre-planned arson to cover up corruption.
• The lawmakers said the infernos are put up by individuals who are involved in corruption as a means of concealing evidence.
Senators have said the mysterious fires that have burned down finance offices in at least five counties are pre-planned to cover up corruption.
The lawmakers said the fires are schemes to conceal evidence.
They took issue with anti-graft agency and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations for failing to fully investigate the fires occurring in only specific offices.
They demanded that the county governments be forced to develop a complementary method of storing financial information.
This, they said, is the only way to stop corrupt officers.
“We need to look at the law so that all county governments should not be allowed to store financial information in hard copies alone,” Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula said.
Last month, fire gutted finance offices in Kisumu, destroying finance, planning, and revenue and supply chain management documents.
Fires have also burned down similar offices in Migori, Homa Bay, Busia and Kitui counties.
Nominated Senator Abshiro Halake brought the matter to the floor and sought an explanation on the cause of frequent fires that only target finance offices.
In a statement, Halake asked the Committee on Devolved Governments and Intergovernmental Relations Committee to explain the circumstances under which the fires have broken out.
“The committee should explain whether these fires are accidents or mischief and incase of mischief whoever is responsible should be held to account,” she said.
Nyamira Senator Okongo Omogeni challenged the committee to escalate the matter to both the DCI and EACC.
Omogeni demanded that the heads of the two institutions should be invited to update the House on the status of investigations.
“These fires are arson and a scheme to destroy evidence by corrupt people in the counties,” Omogeni said.
He challenged the DCI and EACC to explain what they had done since the first case was reported.
“The DCI boss should be invited here tell us whether there has been any probe on arson relating to these fires and the recommendations of such probe.”
In Kisumu, computers at the Ifmis office were destroyed.
In Migori a fire burned down the procurement office and destroyed receipts of goods worth about Sh1.5 billion. It has made it difficult to confirm some of the expenditures.
In Busia, an early morning fire burnt the finance office, destroying crucial documents in the department.
Similarly, in Kitui the records on finance and human resource departments were destroyed.
“There is a conspiracy in these fires and the Senate must deal with it. We must change the law to force counties to have fireproof strong rooms where financial records will be stored,” Wetangula said.
(edited by o. owino)