EACC now at Waiguru’s doorstep: Anti-graft agency official

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 10 Jun, 2020 15:09 | 3 mins read
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru was impeached by MCAs on Tuesday, June 9. [PHOTO | FILE]
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru was impeached by MCAs on Tuesday, June 9. [PHOTO | FILE]
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru was impeached by MCAs on Tuesday, June 9. [PHOTO | FILE]

Anti-graft agency, EACC, says it has launched investigations into impeached Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru’s conduct and that of her staff members.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Central Region Head, Charles Rasugu, has told K24 Digital that they are investigating conflict of interest allegations lodged against the county chief in awarding a Ksh50 million tender to Velocity Partners Limited, a company said to be related to Waiguru’s relatives.

Rasugu further said that they are also investigating claims that the county boss’ team irregularly paid ksh10.6 million travel allowances to some of the staff a day after the Kirinyaga County Assembly passed an impeachment motion against Waiguru.

The EACC regional chief further stated they are inquiring into how the governor allegedly okayed payment of allowances for fictitious foreign trips.

“Senior Kirinyaga County Government officers, among them the governor’s aides, have been summoned by EACC detectives to record statements,” said Rasugu.

The anti-graft regional boss said Kirinyaga County Government’s Chief of Staff Sellah Bogonko and Chief Finance Officer Patrick Mugo are among the staffers interrogated by EACC.

In the Ksh10.6 million alleged irregular payment of travel allowances, EACC has summoned 25 people to appear before the agency’s detectives in Nyeri office for grilling.

“Thirty eight (38) other people alleged to have been involved in the payment of Ksh50 million to Velocity Partners Limited for undone work are also on our radar,” said Rasugu.

“I can confirm that we are investigating the two cases. We have carted away documents from their offices, and I can confidently state that so far, our investigations are going on well.”

Rasugu clarified that Anne Waiguru will be grilled on a later date “when it is appropriate”.

“She will appear before us at the right time. Currently, we are only grilling those who authorised the alleged irregular payments before we summon the county chief,” said Rasugu.

The anti-corruption official said Velocity Partners Limited allegedly received payment, yet it did not install a hospital management system, the tender it had “successfully bid for”.

“We are investigating the County Government’s senior procurement officers. We understand that the alleged misappropriation of funds began at the procurement department. We have also summoned 19 companies that bid for the tender, but were not awarded the work.”

The top anti-graft sleuth said they are interested in knowing who authorised the payment for undone work.

“Those we have interrogated so far, have given crucial information which might lead to the prosecution of senior county government officers.”

Rasugu stated they were drawn to the alleged embezzlement of public funds after the Kirinyaga County MCAs made allegations against Governor Waiguru during the tabling of her impeachment motion on March 31.

Governor Waiguru was on Tuesday, June 9 impeached for gross misconduct, violation of the Constitution of Kenya and abuse of office.

Twenty three (23) out of the 33-member County Assembly voted in favour of Governor Waiguru’s removal.

Four (4) MCAs abstained from voting, whereas six were absent from the House, said County Assembly Speaker Anthony Gathumbi.

A two-thirds vote composition (22) was needed to ensure Waiguru’s ouster bid succeeds.

The impeachment motion against Waiguru was tabled in the Kirinyaga County Assembly on March 31, 2020 by MCA for Mutira Ward, David Kinyua Wangui.

Wangui accused Waiguru of, among other wrongdoings, abuse of office, gross misconduct and violation of the Constitution of Kenya.

In the lead-up to the voting for Waiguru ouster, the Mutira ward rep enjoyed support of at least 24 out of the 33 MCAs in Kirinyaga County.

Wangui alleged that Waiguru deliberately failed to submit county plans and policies to the County Assembly for approval.

He further claimed that Waiguru intentionally failed to issue the State of the County Address, “thus undermining the County assembly’s authority”.

The county chief is also accused of irregularly awarding tenders and buying a county vehicle without tendering, claims which the governor has since denied.

In April 2020, Waiguru moved to the High Court in Nairobi and successfully obtained a legal order suspending the tabling of the impeachment motion against her.

She has since vowed to sue the County Assembly Speaker for contempt of court after Anthony Gathumbi gave a greenlight for the MCAs to debate on the removal bid.

Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, who received the impeachment motion from Kirinyaga County Assembly Speaker Anthony Gathumbi, is now expected to give a way forward in regard to senators sealing the fate of the embattled county boss.

The senators would decide whether the Waiguru ouster will be heard and determined by a special committee or the whole plenary.

According to Senate Standing Order 175, the impeachment ends at the committee level if it determines that the charges do not merit.