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Why Governor Waiguru was acquitted by the Senate

Committee blames impeachment on acrimonious relationship between her and MCAs.

In Summary

• The Assembly accused the governor with violation of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015 and the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 242.

• The Malala team said from the evidence adduced, the Committee noted a clear mismanagement of some tenders.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru with her Husband and lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo representing her in the case of her Impeachment at the senate chambers on 24th.June.2020
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru with her Husband and lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo representing her in the case of her Impeachment at the senate chambers on 24th.June.2020
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru on Friday survived an impeachment motion against her.

This is after the Senate dismissed the motion seeking to remove her from office on grounds of abuse of office and gross misconduct.

Kirinyaga MCAs passed the motion accusing the governor of having undermined their authority.

 
 

Some 23 out of the 33 MCAs supported the motion before it was passed and later tabled in Senate.

The Senate selected an 11-member committee that conducted a two-day hearing into the allegations.

The Cleophas Malala-led committee concluded its hearings on Wednesday and retreated to make a determination into the allegations.

“The Committee having investigated the matter in accordance with its mandate under section 33(4) of the County Governments Act and standing order 75(2) of the Senate Standing Orders reports to the Senate that it finds that the two Charges against the Governor have not been substantiated,” read the report by the committee.

According to the committee, the MCAs resorted to impeaching Waiguru as a result of acrimonious, contemptuous and cold relationship between the  Assembly on the one hand and the County Governor on the other.

This, the committee said had threatened to grind the County to a halt.

“It is inconceivable that in these circumstances the people of Kirinyaga County can be enjoying the benefits of devolved government that the Constitution of Kenya avails. Urgent measures require to be taken to bring the two protagonists to the table to find an amicable solution,” the report read.

 
 

In this respect, cognisant of the Senate’s role as the custodian of the interests of the counties and their governments, the Committee recommends that the Senate, through its relevant organs, immediately assumes jurisdiction and invites the County Assembly and the County Governor to a consultative process that will restore a functioning government to the people of Kirinyaga County.

Waiguru had been accused with two main offences which were gross violation of the constitution and other laws and abuse of office and gross misconduct.

The area Senator should lead the various reconciliation measures to bring together the County executive and County Assembly and all other institutions in order to restore harmonious working relations in Kirinyaga County.
Senate Select Committee

The MCAs alleged the governor failed to deliver the Annual State of the County Address for the Financial Year 2018- 2019 to the County Assembly, undermined the authority of the County Assembly and Violations under written law, including violation of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015 and the Public Finance and Management Act, 2012.

With regards to gross misconduct and abuse of office, the MCAs said Waiguru violated section 46 of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.

Waiguru was accused of improper conferment of a benefit on a public officer, violation of the right to health of the people of Kirinyaga County and disregard of the recommendation of the County Public Service Board regarding remuneration of members of the Board of Kirinyaga Investment Development Authority (KIDA), payment of KIDA Board members outside the IFMIS and County Government Payroll, and payment of imprest amounting to more than fourteen Million paid to Mr. Francis Muriithi Kariuki.

Why Waiguru was let off the hook

The MCAs said the governor failed to deliver the annual state of the county address for the financial year 2018/2019 to the County Assembly 237.

But the Malala team said from the evidence adduced before the Committee, the Governor demonstrated that two Annual State of the County Address was made.

One albeit was not delivered in the County Assembly.

“The Committee further noted that there is no county legislation to provide for the content of the Annual State of the County Address as required by section 30(2)(k) of the County Government Act,” the report read.

According to the team, the allegation was not proved and was therefore not substantiated.

The County Assembly said Waiguru undermined the authority of the County Assembly.

But the evidence adduced before the Committee showed that the county executive has always submitted county policy papers and plans including the County Strategy papers before the County Assembly.

Further the County Assembly has always approved the annual budget.

“There is evidence of Plans and Policy documents have been presented to the County Assembly for approval. The Committee therefore finds that the allegation was not proved and is therefore not substantiated,” the report read.

The Assembly accused the governor with violation of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015 and the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 242.

The Malala team said from the evidence adduced, the Committee noted a clear mismanagement of some tenders.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru talks during her impeachment hearing at the Senate on June 23, 2020.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru talks during her impeachment hearing at the Senate on June 23, 2020.
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

Of the 12 tenders listed in the Motion, the County Assembly only prosecuted four of them.

“Of the four tenders prosecuted, the Committee notes that there was clear mismanagement of the tender process where tenders were awarded to Companies whose bids were not responsive or where there were clear cases of conflict of interest,” said the report.

According to the committee, the specific tenders in question included tender for the design, development, installation and commissioning of integrated hospital 86 management information system.

In this tender, the committee said full payment was made long before the User testing was done and further, the company awarded did not meet the qualifications prescribed in the tender documents.

With regards to the proposed waterworks for Mwea-Makima water project, March 2018, the tender was awarded to Eva Trading Agencies Limited which was clearly owned by a member of the family, specifically the brother to the Accounting Officer who awarded the tender with no declaration of interest.

“In the circumstances, the Committee recommends that investigatory authorities undertake investigations on the same and the culpable officers including the respective Tender Evaluation Committee members be called to account,” the report said.

Malala while tabling the report before the Senate said the Committee found that the allegation was not proved and is therefore not substantiated.

The MCAs said Waiguru violated section 46 of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.

But the evidence adduced before the Committee showed that the respective tender committees were by law established by the respective accounting officers.

Malala said there was no evidence linking the Governor with the establishment of tender evaluation committees.

“The Committee therefore finds that the allegation was not proved and is therefore not substantiated,” he said.

 With regards to allegation of conferring a benefit to a public officer, Malala said the evidence adduced established administrative malaise in the management of imprests in Kirinyaga County.

“The Committee first took great exception to the County Assembly for listing twelve imprests paid to the Governor and alleging that the Governor was issued with imprest but never travelled or surrendered,” he said.

He added, “The County Assembly on prosecuted two of the alleged travels. The Governor adduced evidence of the travel and where travel was not undertaken, the imprest was surrendered though out of 87 time”.

Malal said the Committee observed that accounting officers must adhere to the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 which require imprests to be surrendered with seven days and in the event of delay, the refund should be made with interest.

“The Committee finds that this allegation was proved but does not amount to an impeachable offence,” Malala said.

With regards to disregard of the recommendation of the County Public Service Board regarding remuneration of members of the Board of Kirinyaga Investment Development Authority (KIDA), payment of KIDA Board members outside the IFMIS and County Government Payroll, and payment of imprest amounting to more than fourteen Million paid to Mr. Francis Muriithi Kariuki, Malala said evidence demonstrated that payment was made in accordance with Salaries and Remuneration Commission circular on Payment of allowances to Boards and Commissions.

He said as a result, the committee found that this allegation was not proved and therefore not substantiated.

On allegation of violation of the Right to Health of the people of Kirinyaga County, the Malala team said evidence adduced established that there were significant systemic problems in the health sector in Kirinyaga that can be addressed by various organs including the County Assembly and National Government institutions.

“The Committee further notes the high turn-over of health workers in Kirinyaga County and the inordinate delay in the payment of health workers who pursuant to the Governor’s moratorium, resumed work. This issue should be addressed forthwith,” he said.

Malala said his team found out that this allegation was not proved and therefore not substantiated.


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