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Assembly denies bribery allegations

Siaya county assembly has put to task the local governor to provide evidence of corruption within the office of the controller of budget instead of issuing blanket accusations.

County assembly speaker, George Okode said a recent statement by governor Cornel Rasanga that his treasury officials have been bribing public servants at the controller of budget’s office to release funds for the devolved unit was in bad taste and must be substantiated and supported with facts.

Speaking to the Kenya News Agency in his office Tuesday, Okode said that the county assembly of Siaya had never bribed or influenced the controller of budget or any official to release funds or do a favorable report.

“This is an unfortunate statement. Where is evidence to that effect? If it is there, then it should be made public,” he said adding, “As an assembly, our position is that we have never ever bribed the controller of budget to give us money or do reports that favor us in any way”.

He said that such statements, if proven to be false, dent the integrity of the office of the controller of budget, and jeopardize the cordial relationship between the counties and such offices.

Okode said that other than the release of money, the office of the controller of budget also provides advice on how to do budget and other services.

“The thing is that we as an assembly have never bribed. We have worked with two controllers of budget and have never bribed them and all the time they give us services free of charge and we enjoy a cordial working relationship with them,” he said adding that unfounded statements must not be used to besmirch the entire office.

On the eve of New Year, Siaya governor, Cornel Rasanga publicly accused the county treasury staff of bribing officials at the controller of budget office to release funds for the local county government.

Rasanga who said he had received a confidential report from a well placed office, issued a stern warning to the staff to desist from the graft, adding that no public servant should be pampered to offer services to which they are paid salary.

Speaking during his annual state of the county address at the Siaya agricultural training centre, the governor took the treasury staff, led by the county executive committee member for finance, Joseph Warega by surprise when he claimed that the controller of budget staff receive as little as sh. 3,000 to process the money due to his county.

“Do not dispute this. I have facts from a confidential report,” he told Warega who feigned ignorance and tried to explain himself, when challenged as to whether he was aware and the actions that he intended to put in place to put a stop to the practice.

He wondered where the officials, who make weekly trips to Nairobi get the funds from or how they account for it.

By Philip Onyango

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