Vihiga County leaders rally behind Governor in corruption crusade

Vihiga leaders met on Saturday in Nairobi and reinstated their total support for Governor Wilber Ottichilo’s plans to clean-up sleaze in Vihiga County.

The leaders expressed solidarity with the Governor’s personnel surgery plan to create a corruption-free Vihiga County.

The leaders expressed their outrage at the pitiful state of the county after a report showed the county treasury had been swept clean by the outgoing regime under former Governor Moses Akaranga.

“There has actually been no government in Vihiga. What existed is an assembly of unqualified people whose main business was to share money. The coffers are empty as if money was just catered away”, the meeting was told.

Apparently, County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) who are equivalent to cabinet ministers and Chief Officers (Principal Secretaries) all became accounting officers each allocating themselves money to spend as they wished. The result is there is little documentation on the alleged sh2billion pending debt owed to over 90% briefcase contractors owned by the same county officials.

“In a nutshell, the pending bills are contract sums awarded to briefcase companies for incomplete projects. There are very few genuine contractors who did work but other companies were instead paid for the same works. It is a legal quagmire”, the meeting heard.

The governor sought support from the MPs for an impending personnel purge and forensic audit of the county finances.

The meeting convened by ANC Party leader and NASA Co-Principal Musalia Mudavadi decried the fact that County’s coffers have been swept clean pointing to a looting spree three months to elections.

“There is no single cent in the account. I was given a vehicle without fuel and insurance. I cannot advertise for vacant positions because newspapers are owed colossal amounts in arrears. They want cash”, lamented Governor Ottichilo.

It was reported to the meeting that the financial management is the epicentre of the corrupt to the extent that budgets have been a smokescreen for CECMs and COs to “share” money rather than spend on development.

In attendance were the Governor Wilber Ottichilo, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri, Women Rep Beatrice Adagala, MPs Afred Agoi of Sabatia, Kagesi Kavai of Vihiga, Omboko Milemba of Emuhaya, Gumini Gimose of Hamisi and Chris Omulele of Luanda.

A casual audit of the county human resource shows wanton wastage. While a much larger neighbouring Nandi County has a workforce of only 800, Vihiga is overflowing with a workforce of 3,747, most of them sneaked into the payroll in the last three months.

Most people are on the payroll without portfolios, while others only come to collect salaries. In the last three months, 50 security personnel were inserted into the payroll at sh60,000 each per month, 300 religious leaders and pensioners are earning sh10,000 per month, and Boda Boda leaders at various bus stages paid sh20,000 per month. The employment scum reeks of illegal campaign financing.

This employment rip-off has seen the wage bill rise from sh101 million to over sh200 million per month since 2013. This include cash to a chaplain whose duties are to pray for the Governor every morning.

The defunct municipal council used to raise over sh300 million in revenue annually. This is down to sh97 million in 2016.

“Revenue due to the government is not remitted but shared at collection points by officers”, the meeting was told.

The former county assembly was used to sanitise budgets that were never implemented in return for contract favours to MCAs.

“The previous County Assembly abdicated its oversight role and became an implementer of corrupt deals. They were literary bought off to look the other way as officers skimmed public resources”, the meeting heard.