Seth Onyango and Judy Akuma @PeopleDailyKe
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko yesterday clashed with County Assembly Minority Whip Peter Imwatok over alleged loss of Sh1.7 billion in procurement of health services.
The governor accused Imwatok, who is also Makongeni MCA, of being behind a cartel allegedly frustrating his development agenda for the city. Sonko took a jab at his predecessor Evans Kidero, accusing him of having laid a ground work for cartels to thrive at City Hall.
Defending his administration, the governor claimed cartels from the previous government still control tendering and other operations in the county. His remarks come after Imwatok filed a case last week in the Anti-Corruption Court, arguing that the county government authorised irregular procurement of medical insurance for workers.
He argues that Public Procurement Oversight Authority irregularly authorised the payment of cash to AAR Insurance. In the case, Imwatok has listed Sonko, former County Secretary Simon Leboo Morintat and former Finance Executive Veska Kagongo as respondents.
And speaking during the Labour Day prayers at St Stephen’s ACK Church in Nairobi, Sonko accused Imwatok of frustrating his efforts to rid the city of cartels. “He has been advocating for payment of lawyers who have not rendered any service to the county government,” he said, adding that the MCA has been working with his political detractors to paint his administration in bad light.
He vowed not to be derailed. But in a swift rejoinder, Imwatok denied Sonko’s claims and accused the governor is maliciously targeting him because he raised alarm over illegal payments. He said the funds paid to AAR covered some 1,380 ghost workers.
According to him, the cover was procured for 14,000 staff yet there are 12, 620 county workers. “I can say categorically I am not a cartel.
The governor is simply targeting me because I sit in the county budget committee and I have facts regarding the misappropriation of funds in an illegal insurance scheme where the county claims to have insured 14,000 employees while the actual number of staff is 12, 620 only,” the MCA told journalists in Nairobi yesterday.
At the same time, Imwatok opposed Sonko’s claims that the county had improved in terms of revenue collection. “There is a problem in revenue collection in the county, compared to previous years. In a our report of budget appropriation, this is the worst year.
When the governor says that Nairobi collects a lot of money; I don’t know what he means,” he. He challenged the governor to go to court to respond to the allegations and avoid sideshows.
Imwatok seeking an order for all funds paid to AAR Kenya for two extensions to its contract with the county government between July 1 and December the same year, returned to City Hall.