The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Taita-Taveta County have invited the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to probe allegations of wanton corruption involving officials working under the executive and County Assembly arms of the County government.
The Chairperson of CSO Network in the county, Ezra Mdamu said there has been allegations of misuse and embezzlement of public funds by both arms of the county government that needed to be probed by an independent and qualified entity.
Speaking in Voi on Tuesday, Mdamu said the accusations and counter accusations of financial malpractices in both arms of the government were unhealthy for development and needed to be probed.
“The DCI should step in and bring to end this speculation that has created the feeling of hostility between the two arms,” he said.
In the last few months, the county assembly had alleged that there are hundreds of ghost workers in the payroll of the county executive, listed under casual workers.
The issue of casual workers has been one of the major contention in 2019/2020 budget which has not been assented to after Governor Granton Samboja declined to sign the document.
In the Sh.5.4 billion budget, the executive had allocated Sh.274 million as payment to casual workers. However, the county assembly contested this figure, arguing the county did not have such a huge number of casuals. The assembly added that all payments to workers were factored in the budget as salaries.
In 2016, former Governor, John Mruttu initiated a head count for all workers in the county to weed our ghost workers.
Samboja also conducted his own staff audit shortly after he took over the office. Findings of the two staff audits were not made public fueling speculations of cover-up for dubious activities.
Mdamu stated that a final verdict from DCI on the allegations would allow the county to move on to other pressing matter.
He also said the operations of DATU Zawazisha fund, created to assist needy learners should be investigated claiming that the funds have in the past been misused.
The Secretary of the CSO Network, Malusha Abedi warned that if the current budget crisis is not resolved, the county would be plunged into deeper problems with service delivery and development projects stalling.
He said county should form fully-fledged legal and communication departments, which would justify the amount in the current budget.
“Currently, the two departments work under the governor’s office. If they have fully functional directorates, we would avoid some of these conflicts,” Abedi said.
By Wagema Mwangi