Machakos County Governor Wavinya Ndeti has exposed the rot she allegedly inherited from her predecessor Alfred Mutua. The governor claims she inherited a dilapidated county with debts of Ksh. 3bn and a bloated workforce, she has now embarked on efforts to weed out what she claims are ghost workers. Recently the governor gave orders for the registration of all county staff through the biometrics system, shockingly more than 550 county staff failed to show up for registration.
This, according to the governor was a clear sign that some people have been earning salaries and allowances through illegal means. She cited five cases of employment of underage persons among the anomalies used as strategies to siphon public funds. She further revealed that there were 14 cases of officers with the same ID card numbers but different PINs being paid by the county government and another two cases of officers with the same IDs but different payroll numbers and 28 cases of officers with the same payroll numbers but different ID numbers.
During his tenure, Mutua’s administration faced accusations of financial mismanagement and looting of public resources. Investigations reveal that Governor Ndeti inherited huge amounts of un-surrendered imprest in the governor’s office. Records found in the governor’s office show some financial statements reflecting zero balance in respect of outstanding imprests and advances, however, a review of the imprest register and payment details revealed that the Department of Finance and Office of the Governor had un-surrendered and unaccounted for imprests amounting to Ksh. 67,994,086 and Ksh. 50,432,466 respectively all totaling Ksh. 118,426,551.
The imprests have been outstanding for a long time contrary to Regulation 91(3) of the Public Finance Management (County Governments) Regulations, 2015 which requires the amount due to be accounted for or be surrendered within seven working days after returning to duty station. Governor Ndeti has also unearthed many other cases of irregular use of public resources by the previous administration. Records show that legal fees amounting to Ksh. 31,530,139 was paid to various law firms, a further review of the County Law office records reveals a pending account payable amounting to Ksh. 607,769,485 in respect of outstanding legal expenses as of 30 June 2022.
It is not clear why the ex-governor continued engaging private legal firms instead of using staff from the well-established county legal department.