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Meat for Kings: County Assembly buys chopping board at Sh 20,000

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Baringo County is the latest devolved unit to reel from brazen corruption after a report tabled by a committee investigating loss of funds revealed that the County Assembly procured a two feet pine wood chopping board for its restaurant at Ksh20, 000.

Details about the plunder of the public funds were revealed on September 26 during a special sitting at the assembly to discuss a report by the Public Accounts and Investments Committee.

The damning report also revealed that the MCAs assigned themselves private chauffeurs without approval from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) as required by law.

The committee was investigating culpability of assembly officials over an auditor general report on the financial operations of the assembly during the financial year 2014/2015 that raised the red flag on the looting.

Nelson Lotela who doubles up as Silale Ward MCA and as chair of the committee while tabling the report, called on the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and The Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate the matter.

“A chopping log is a cheap item. It surely can’t go for more than Ksh2,000 in the market,” said Lotela.

Lotela further added that the committee had also found evaluation officers at the county assembly culpable of flouting procurement guidelines by awarding a Ksh4, 271,375 construction tender to a blacklisted company, Yemtech Engineering to construct a gate to the County Assembly.

The committee chairperson added that a scrutiny of the Bill of Quantities (a document listing all construction material required, prepared by the quantity surveyor in charge of the project) revealed that two aluminum revolving doors and a 210 metre razor wire fence had not been notably done by the contractor yet the project has been completed and handed over.

In a conflict of interest by the county’s staff, Lotela further revealed that the payroll records show that 60 ward staff were hired as drivers and secretaries across the 30 wards and a sum of Ksh7, 293, 000 was paid as salaries to them during the year under review.

“The embezzlement of funds by the assembly is heaping more pain to the local mwananchi who is toiling to pay taxes. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should move with speed and prosecute those behind the stealing of public money,” said Elizabeth Kipsang, a nominated MCA.

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