The immediate former Siaya County Governor Cornel Rasanga is alleged to have eased the way for the return of the once-famous cowboy contractors in the county when he was in office. The Cowboy contractors are known to have used the power of money to unfairly win multi-million shillings contracts in the county, yet some were unqualified, lacked the technical know-how to undertake certain jobs, and once awarded the tenders, they remained uncontrollable and unregulated, most ended up doing shoddy jobs.
Investigations reveal that Rasanga’s two-term tenure in office saw the return of such contractors after he approved skewed awards for the construction of roads. Investigations reveal that Rasanga approved the expenditure of Ksh. 1,067,726,665 for the construction of roads, out of which Ksh. 605,289,909, or 57% of the total amount on roads, was paid to only 11 contractors out of 86 road contractors registered.
Available evidence reveals that the 11 contractors were awarded 221 road works, an indication of a lack of fairness and open competition contrary to Section 58(2) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015. Further, the former governor approved a tender for the construction of Siaya Bus Park, whose tender was awarded in March 2020 at a cost of Ksh. 23,014,867 with the expected completion date being February 22, 2021, only for a second request for an extension up to February 22, 2022, to be made.
However, there was no evidence that the extension was given after a recommendation by the evaluation committee, as required by Section 139(2) (a). There was also no evidence of justification by the technical department in writing, backed by supporting evidence, and submitted to the head of procurement.
In addition, by June 2022, the contractor had been paid Ksh. 12,582,218; at a time when the project was estimated to be at a 60% level of completion, by then the project duration had lapsed by over 16 months. Apart from awarding tenders irregularly to preferred companies, the governor is also under the spotlight to explain the unfair labour practices at the county during his tenure in office. According to reports, the County Executive recruited 220 revenue collectors and 71 health workers without an approved staff establishment, human resource budget, or recruitment plan.
In addition, 104 Early Childhood Development (ECD) instructors were employed without the requisite qualifications of early childhood certificates or Diploma holders in Education and were not registered by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC). A review of the payrolls revealed that 14 employees who had attained the retirement age of 60 years were still on the June 2022 payroll and were not among the staff serving in the Office of the Governor.
This was contrary to Section D.21 of the Human Resource Policies and Procedures Manual for the Public Service, May 2016, which states that all officers shall retire from the service on attaining the mandatory retirement age of 60 years and 65 years for persons with disabilities.