MCAs con­spired to al­ter bud­get by Sh95m to kick me out – Gach­agua

Fi­nance ex­ec­u­tive’s suitabil­ity ques­tioned as he has no ac­count­ing back­ground. He is a medic

The Star (Kenya) - - News - JAMES MBAKA @onchir­im­baka

Be­sieged Ny­eri Gover­nor Nder­itu Gach­agua yes­ter­day at­trib­uted his woes to the bud­get stale­mate pit­ting his of­fice against MCAs.

Dur­ing the sec­ond day of the Se­nate Special Sit­ting hear­ing Gach­agua’s pro­posed re­moval from of­fice, the county boss main­tained that the im­peach­ment mo­tion was caused by dis­agree­ments over the bud­get.

The Se­nate was last night ex­pected to vote on whether the im­peach­ment mo­tion against the gover­nor had merit. Through his le­gal coun­sel Peter Wanyama, Gach­agua said the county as­sem­bly con­spired to al­ter his 2016-17 bud­get by a stag­ger­ing Sh95.4 mil­lion, spark­ing a vi­cious stand­off.

“The dras­tic al­lo­ca­tion and re­al­lo­ca­tion by the as­sem­bly was meant to sab­o­tage the bud­get­mak­ing process. The re­duced bud­get led to de­lays in the prepa­ra­tion of the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Bill,” Wanyama said.

On why the county was yet to es­tab­lish eco­nomic fo­rums as re­quired un­der the Pub­lic Fi­nance Man­age­ment Act, he said this is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the county gov­ern­ment and not the gover­nor.

“The charge as crafted is faulty as it talks about the gover­nor,” Wanyama said. Ny­eri Fi­nance ex­ec­u­tive Charles Githinji ap­peared as a wit­ness. He told the Se­nate at­tempts to get rep­re­sen­ta­tives from var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions to the fo­rum have hit a snag. He said the county was un­able to es­tab­lish the agency be­cause of squab­bles pit­ting the ex­ec­u­tive against the as­sem­bly and be­cause the county did not present to the as­sem­bly the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Bill as re­quired.

The de­fence also lined up Con­troller of Bud­get Agnes Od­hi­ambo, Au­di­tor Gen­eral Ed­ward Ouko and Eliud Mu­choki as prin­ci­pal wit­nesses as the gover­nor launched an on­slaught against three charges of gross vi­o­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion, fail­ure to com­ply with the law and abuse of of­fice, lead­ing to a Sh1.7 bil­lion loss.

Od­hi­ambo and Ouko told sen­a­tors their ap­pear­ance was to put the record straight to help the House de­ter­mine whether the im­peach­ment pro­posal should be adopted.

Asked whether it was proper to have a Fi­nance ex­ec­u­tive in an act­ing ca­pac­ity, Ouko said while that was not a big con­cern to him, there was need for the of­fi­cial to have a strong fi­nan­cial back­ground. Githinji has worked in an act­ing ca­pac­ity for a year. He is trained as a medic. “It is an im­por­tant post and one is ex­pected to know pub­lic fi­nance man­age­ment and be fa­mil­iar with all the rel­e­vant laws. Un­less one is un­qual­i­fied which would be a con­cern,” Ouko said.

He told Sen­a­tors that in his au­dit report on the fi­nan­cial ac­counts of Ny­eri county in 2013-14, Sh29 mil­lion was flagged off as hav­ing not been prop­erly utilised for the ren­o­va­tion of a pri­vate of­fice to house county staff in Ny­eri.

Ouko said the money used to ren­o­vate the build­ing could have been used to buy a plot and build a new struc­ture be­cause the county was pay­ing rent for the re­fur­bished of­fices.

Kakamega Sen­a­tor Boni Khal­wale asked why the Au­di­tor Gen­eral was le­nient in rec­om­mend­ing that Gach­agua be sur­charged for mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion. “My work is not to hang any­one, that is the work of this House, mine is to ta­ble a report,” Ouko said.

/ HEZRON NJOROGE

Ny­eri Gover­nor Nder­itu Gach­agua and Deputy Gover­nor Sa­muel Wa­mathai ar­rive in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day. The Au­di­tor Gen­eral ap­peared to an­swer queries

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