, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – Governor Mwangi wa Iria began his defence against impeachment by questioning the motives of the Murang’a County Assembly.
Iria through his lawyer Ng’ang’a Mbugua linked his impeachment to disagreements over the Ward Development Fund which MCAs were lobbying for.
Mbugua disclosed that after Iria took office, the relationship with the assembly was cordial for six months but soured when the issue of the fund came up.
Mbugua told the committee which is sitting at County Hall, Nairobi that each ward was demanding Sh20 million, money which Iria said he did not have, since the demands would have cost the County Sh700 million hence impede development.
Mbugua further told the committee that Iria became the target after the assembly unsuccessfully attempted to impeach the Finance CEC.
Iria’s defence team further argued that proper procedure was not followed in his removal from office, saying the County Assembly did not accord him a fair hearing.
They termed his removal from office as unlawful and obviously null and void.
“If we do not send a clear message to the assembly that the law was crafted to give procedure, several assemblies will continue defying the law,” argued Mbugua.
He urged the Senate to come up with stricter procedures of impeaching governors as what was currently in place was prone to abuse.
“That mechanism of removal if we are not careful will be abused; there was no bona fide manner in which the motion was passed,” added Mbugua.
Iria appeared confident during the proceedings and at some was seen smiling when the allegations were being read out.
The County Assembly legal counsel Mbuthi Gathenji read out the 25 accusations levelled against Iria among them abuse of office charges and gross violation of the Constitution mostly relating to mismanagement of public resources.
Gathenji accused the governor of changing his name from Francis Mwangi and opted to use Mwangi wa Iria which he adopted when he was a manager at the Kenya Cooperative Creameries Ltd.
He also accused the governor of high-handedness and working alone instead of consulting the leadership of the county including the assembly.
“He became arrogant and a know it all and the epitome of impunity,” he read out.
Other accusations include that the governor was negligent in carrying out his duties.
The special committee probing the impeachment is chaired by Kitui Senator David Musila who is deputised by Fatuma Dullo.
Committee members present are Stephen Sang’, Janet Ongera, Muriuki Karue, John Lonyangapuo, Moses Kajwang’, Billow Kerrow and Catherine Mukiite.