The Elgeyo Marakwet county government has sent all its eight Chief Officers on compulsory leave indefinitely over non-performance.
The Governor, Alex Tolgos said the decision was informed by the non-payment of suppliers and contractors by the CO’s acting as accounting officers despite funds having been received from the Treasury.
Addressing the press on Thursday, Tolgos said even for contractors who have been paid, the chief officers didn’t bother to visit the site and see whether projects had been completed or done as per the specifications.
“The CO’s have been approving payments without ensuring whether projects have been completed leading to the county losing money to crafty contractors,” the governor said.
The governor blamed the officers for stalling of projects in his administration adding that inspection of projects has also suffered.
The Chief of Staff, Abraham Barmasai added that the CO’s had also failed in performing general office duties, saying they do not keep records in addition to absenteeism and reporting to work late.
“Maintenance of project files has been a challenge which has also frustrated the payment of contractors as they cannot be paid without all the required documentation which should be provided by the CO’s,” he said.
He said in their absence, directors in the various departments who are alternate signatories will act in their capacities to ensure that delivery of services in the county will not be affected.
He said the CO’s were currently preparing their handing over reports and are expected to have handed over to the directors by Friday before proceeding on the compulsory leave.
He however said they will continue receiving their salaries and allowances while on leave.
A report by the health committee told the county assembly that due to poor supervision, majority of contractors didn’t adhere to project specifications and the Bill of Quantities (BQ’s) on the materials to be used citing iron sheets where gauge 30 was painted and used instead of gauge 28.
The affected Cos are Jeremiah Changwony (Finance and Economic Planning), Caroline Magut (Youth, Sports, Gender and Social Services), Ishmael Chelang’a (Health Services) and Titus Ayabei (ICT and Public Service).
Others are Boaz Chang’ach (Water, Physical Planning and Natural Resources). Chang’ach also doubled as CO Education and Technical Training.
John Cheboi (Public Works, Roads and Transport), Netty Jemutai (Tourism, Trade, Cooperatives and Energy) and Pius Cheserek (Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries).
By Alice Wanjiru