NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1 – The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) on Wednesday expressed concerns over high levels of corruption in most of the 47 counties.
EACC Deputy Chief Executive Officer Michael Mubea said the commission had completed investigations into 15 counties over corruption.
“We are investigating corruption in all the counties. So far we have finalised investigations into 15 counties and we have charged people in court,” Mubea asserted.
Though corruption took place in almost all departments of the county offices, Mubea singled out procurement processes as the major hotspot where wastage and misuse of public money occurred.
He explained that in most of the corruption cases, procurement officers were responsible for the loss of colossal amounts of public money and resources.
“During procurement processes – quite a number of procurement officers have been arraigned in court,” he said.
Mubea used the opportunity to appeal to procurement officers across the country to be cautious in handling public resources.
He advised them to ensure that all regulations and laws in procurement are observed at all levels. Nepotism in awarding of tenders and employment at the county level was also a major cause of worry according to Mubea.
He said EACC was still investigating other counties including Bungoma County which hit the headlines after controversial purchase of wheelbarrows at Sh109, 320 per piece.
Mubea was speaking after he received a petition from Bungoma residents who raised concerns other than the wheelbarrow scandal.
Kennedy Orunga, one of the residents of Bungoma County who presented the petition to Mubea read out a stream of allegations of misuse of public resources, abuse of office, nepotism and high hardness by top county officials.
According to him, the wheelbarrow scam was ‘just a tip of the iceberg.’
“Bungoma County is home to offices manned by spouses, their children and even grand children. A chief officer has his wife as his secretary and his sons working in the audit in the same department and a primary school dropout is preferred to a graduate even in cases where minimum requirements are clear,” Orunga angrily explained.
Levels of anger were clear on the faces of the residents who displayed placards condemning corruption and even pushed a brand new blue wheelbarrow to the EACC offices at the Integrity Centre.
They complained that contracts and tenders were awarded only to specific people and in complete violation of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act that emphasises on competitive outsourcing.
The demonstrators appealed to EACC and the senate to instigate a thorough audit of entire procurement of county projects, county expenditures and among others suppliers and contractors.
“Lifestyle audit of all heads of departments, directors, chief officers, advisors and the governor should all be audited,” they appealed.
They also raised eyebrows over Sh16 million used to establish a SMS platform for the county.
“The SMS platform is not even working. Uasin Gishu has done the platform at just Sh400, 000. What is the difference between these two platforms,’ they wondered.