DATE WITH DESTINY

Senators to decide on Governor Mohammed Abdi's fate

Impeachment committee will be table a report in the House that may make or break the county chief

In Summary

•The governor faces a litany of graft allegations that the MCAs have placed on the doorstep of his nuclear family.

•The ward reps sought to place his wife and children at the centre of the web allegedly draining county coffers.

Impeached Wajir Governor Abdi Mohamud before the Senate special committee to hear his impeachment case on May 12
Impeached Wajir Governor Abdi Mohamud before the Senate special committee to hear his impeachment case on May 12
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Wajir Governor Mohammed Abdi will on Monday know whether he will continue holding onto his job or lose it and crumble his political career.

After two days of intense hearings where the governor and his accusers put up a strong case before the senatorial impeachment committee, senators are making a decision that will seal his fate.

The committee will on Monday afternoon be tabling a report in the House that may make or break the county chief.

The governor faces a litany of graft allegations that the MCAs have placed on the doorstep of his nuclear family.

The ward reps sought to place his wife and children at the centre of the web allegedly draining county coffers.

“We have shown that governor Mahamud is in breach of the constitution and the committee should recommend to the whole House, removal from office,” senior counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, for the MCAs, said at the end of the hearings.

However, the county boss put up a spirited fight and sought to dismantle all the allegations as he turned the heat on the MCAs, accusing them of witch hunt and politically motivated to remove him.

“We are confident that the verdict rendered by your committee will be that that is credible and above board,” the governor said on Thursday.

The 11-member senate committee chaired by Nyamira senator Okongo Omogeni retreated to an undisclosed location on Friday to consider the submissions and file a report.

According to section 33 of the County Government Act, at least six members of the team are required to uphold any of the two broad impeachment grounds fronted by the MCAs to send the governor home.

The ward reps accuse him of gross violation of the constitution, county government act 2012, public procurement and asset disposal act 2015 and Public Finance Management act 2012; and abuse of office and gross misconduct.

Should the threshold be met, the matter shall be subjected to a debate on the floor before a vote is taken.

At least 24 of the 47 elected senators (delegations) are needed to uphold the ouster.

However, if a majority of the committee members rejected all the charges, the impeachment shall flop.

The motion shall not be subjected to further debate and the governor shall continue to discharge his duties.

During the trial, the MCAs represented by Abdullahi moved to demonstrate how the governor has turned the county government into a family affair where his wife and children run the show.

They submitted that the governor’s wife, Kheira Omar Maalim is the de facto and supreme leader in the county executive who decides who should be awarded county tenders.

“Madam Kheira is no ordinary First Lady.  She is not the power behind the throne. She sits on the throne,” the MCAs said through lawyer Abdullahi, as they took committee on her tentacles in the county affairs,” Abdullahi said.

They claimed that she has been receiving bribes from county contractors to facilitate their payments or win tenders.

The ward reps presented a bank trail; detailing how the governor’s spouse, son and daughter have allegedly been receiving kickbacks from contractors.

The county assembly also placed an influential businessman Osman Abdi Jimale, allegedly related to the governor’s family, at the centre of the graft web that is draining the county dry.

Jimale, according to the MCAs owns several companies that have won nearly every tender awarded by the county government.

The firms, techy claimed, are always the first to be paid whenever the county pays contractors.

They said the businessman owns Zulma Construction and General Supplies Limited, R8 Enterprises Limited, Leisland General Merchants Limited, Daayo Construction and General Supplies Limited.

Other companies he owns are Y-Tree, Leisland General Merchants Limited, Leyli General Supplies Limited, Buildlink Investments Limited and Fine Construction Company Limited.

On December 18, 2017, Omar Abdullahi deposited Sh9 million into Kheira’s bank account.

Osman Abdi Jimale has been paid the sum of Sh305.44 million by the County Executive when there is unpaid pending bills from 2017 under this current administration,” Diff MCA Shueb Bare Ahmed said in an affidavit filed with the senate committee.

Jimale failed to appear before the committee to testify despite the panel summoning him to shed more light on suspect payments to several of his companies and remittances he allegedly made to the governor's family.

He was unreachable on phone when the assembly legal team attempted to call him.

However,  the governor discounted the allegations as a political witch hunt laced with malice, falsehood and only geared at tarnishing his name and maligning his character.

Through lawyers Paul Nyamodi and Ndegwa Njiru, Governor Abdi scathingly discounted the allegations, questioning the source and authenticity of the evidence – bank statements adduced by the MCAs in firming up their case.

He questioned the character of some of the witnesses who testified against him, saying some have been accused of graft in their past jobs and used their ‘craftiness’ to obtain the documents.

“Can you confirm the source of these documents? Can you confirm that these bank accounts are linked to the first lady? How did you obtain these documents from KCB?” lawyer Njiru posed during the cross-examination of MCA Bare.

The lawyer said the MCAs, had not adduced evidence to prove claims that county contractors have been forced to seek the blessings of the governor’s wife to win tenders or get paid.

He said they also did not prove that the companies that won tenders were directly linked to the governor, his family or proxies.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris