, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 11 – “I wish to state that the Deputy Governor did not travel an inch in my matatu,” – these were the words of John Mutinda, the driver of the matatu which Bernard Kiala claimed he used to travel to Nairobi after Governor Alfred Mutua allegedly impounded his vehicle.
Kiala alleged he was forced to use a matatu after attending the highly publicised CORD Saba Saba rally which the Governor was opposed to.
Mutinda was among several witnesses who appeared before the Senate committee formed to probe the impeachment of Kiala who is accused of corruption and lack of integrity.
The day began with Kiala – who was impeached by the County Assembly – pleading his case before the 11-member committee where he alleged that his woes were as a result of differences between himself and the Governor Mutua whom he accused of high-handedness.
Kiala blamed his tribulations on differences between him and the Governor saying, “I put out the principle of equity and fairness. It was inappropriate for chief officers to work with their spouses and those spouses heading senior positions in procurement, which in my opinion would create a conflict of interest because chief officers are accounting officers of various departments. It therefore turns out the impeachment proceedings are a case of hunted turning to be the hunted,” he argued.
He said despite the fact that they were elected together, Mutua made decisions independently not putting into consideration his or any other person’s opinion.
“He appointed 156 senior County Government officers in contravention of paragraph 59(1 (b) of the County Government Act which states the functions of the County Public Service Board is to appoint persons to hold or act in offices of the county public service including in the boards of cities and urban areas within the county and to confirm appointments. ”
He further alleged that over 50 of those appointed were relatives and cronies of the Governor.
In an apparent onslaught against the Governor, he accused him of embezzlement of funds in the procurement of vehicles which were single-sourced as opposed to the open tender method.
The impeachment committee also heard from other witnesses who pointed an accusing finger at the Deputy Governor whom they accused of corruption, intimidation and interference in operations at the county.
George Kioko, the County Executive for Transport told the committee that Kaila gave false information that he was forced to ride a matatu after the Governor impounded his vehicle.
“He did not use a matatu as claimed; he used a vehicle assigned to him,” Kioko reiterated.
However during the proceedings, it appeared that the County Executives who appeared before the impeachment committee all did not have appointment letters as one would expect.
They however defended their case pointing out that their appointments were indicated in gazette notices.
One of the witnesses, Naomi Mutie who is the county Health Executive, alleged that she was under pressure to award a tender to the deputy governor’s brother who repeatedly called her.
Kiala is facing charges of gross violation of the Constitution and gross violation of the four Acts of Parliament; the County Government Act, Public Ethics Act, National Cohesion and Integration Act, and the Leadership and Integrity Act.
The hearing of the case is expected to continue until Tuesday before which the committee will retreat to prepare a report which will be presented to the Senate on Friday.
If the impeachment is successful, Kiala will be the first Deputy Governor to be impeached.
Others who have gone through impeachment motions are Embu Governor Martin Wambora who was eventually reinstated and Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony.