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Wajir governor embezzled Sh1 billion, senators told

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi has been accused of embezzling Sh1 billion county funds. The governor yesterday appeared before a Senate committee to defend himself against accusations by six petitioners from his county.

Petitioners want President Uhuru Kenyatta to suspend the Wajir county government, saying it is marred by corruption and mismanagement of public resources. The law mandates the President to suspend a county government in “an emergency arising out of internal conflict or war” or “in other exceptional circumstances”.

Mahammed Abikar, Abdi Abdinur, Abdifatah Diriye, Amed Sabdow, Abukari Sheikh and Johara Hussein, are the petitioners. They appealed to the Senate to direct Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo and the National Treasury to stop releasing funds to Wajir.

Abikar, who presented the petition, is the Anti-Corruption and Justice Forum chairman. Abdullahi is accused of misappropriating funds, breach of procurement laws and abuse of office. The governor yesterday came face to face with one of the petitioners, Diriye, who told him to his (governor) face he was plundering county funds.

He, however,told the Senate Finance Committee that all the charges against him were the work of detractors “some of whom were political failures.” Committee temporary chairperson Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o told him to exonerate himself by providing the relevant supporting documents.

In the plaint by the petitioners, the county government allegedly rented an office space for Sh600, 000 monthly, hired 200 vehicles for county operations at exorbitant prices and drilled 60 non-existing boreholes.

Diriye told the committee most of the boreholes were on paper but nothing to show on the ground. The governor has also been accused of skewed employment, awarding salaries in total disregard of the specified guidelines by Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) and failure to initiated projects in line with the County Integrated Development Plan Abdullahi was put to task by Senator Mutahi Kagwe (Nyeri) John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot), Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) and Peter Mositet (Kajiado) over his administration’s expenditure and claims that companies associated with the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) were the ones awarded tenders. He, however, maintained that no money has been misappropriate and the Auditor General reports confirms the same.

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