, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2 – The Turkana Governor and Senator traded accusations before the Senate Public Accounts Committee over corruption related issues with John Munyes accusing Governor Josephat Nanok of abetting the vice.
Senator Munyes who is not a member of the committee but attended as a ‘friend’ said the challenge the county was facing was external interference from former politicians and the Governor stating that only those companies approved by Nanok or belonging to his close allies were considered for business.
“The mistake we are making in Turkana is that the ministers have a number of companies; if you are not connected you cannot get it. The sickness in Turkana is that internal confusion, they would have done a good job if they (procurement officers) were left to do it alone but a lot of interference from the Governor’s office and the ministers has caused all this,” he said.
Nanok visibly angered by the Senator’s sentiments however dismissed the allegations saying he had never interfered with procurement and instead pointed an accusing finger at Munyes for playing dirty politics in his attempts to unseat him in the next General Election.
“I will want political issues that are outside this committee not to be brought here, Senator Munyes is now my rival for governorship”… at which point Munyes blurted ‘correct’.
Nanok continued: “So to paint me badly because of the politics you are playing is not an issue for this committee and I think those politics should be taken to the field where they are supposed to be.”
It took the efforts of the committee chairman Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale to calm down Nanok and bring the meeting to order.
But it appeared the odds were against Nanok as before the arrival of the Senator the committee had cited various instances the governor is said to have influenced the procurement process.
“From morning we have found that the Governor has not allowed the process of procurement to be independent; there is no procurement going on… query after query, the issue is procurement,” said Khalwale.
Munyes added that although the county had competent procurement officers, they were unable to fully carry out their mandate owing to interference by Nanok.
The committee noted that several rules had been flouted and urged Nanok to re-look at the staff he had appointed to avoid the kind of ’embarrassment’ he had undergone in future.
The county’s Chief Finance Officer said they had since co-opted staff from the National government to help streamline the process saying they had also advertised for 17 positions under the same department.
Munyes further urged the committee to conduct a lifestyle audit of the county executives and the governor insisting he had proof to justify his claims.
“Nanok I can prove this is not politics. You cannot have the properties and flashy cars,” he added.
In the Auditor General’s report, Turkana County was found to have massive irregularities in procurement and doubtful expenditure of public funds as they failed to submit documents supporting the expenditure.
The Governor also failed to submit minutes of tender committee meetings.