Investigations reveal that the seven officers, namely George Mutiso (County Chief Officer), Martha Wambugu (Head of County Treasury), Daniel Mshanga (head of Exchequer), Daniel Nguru (Finance), Carroline Wanganga (Assistant Director of Debt Management), Tiras Kamau (Budget Officer), and Esther Wambugu (Assistant Director of Administration), were cleared to attend the conference in Israel between June 29th, 2023, and July 12th, 2023, but never attended the conference
By The Weekly Vision Team
Governor Johnson Sakaja needs to investigate the circumstances under which his officers have formed a habit of claiming per diem payments for foreign trips without leaving the country. In a well-planned scheme, county officers go searching for international conferences and training being held across the globe and, with the help of respective chief officers in their respective departments, send requests for participation. Considering that conference organisers are in the business of making money, they will always accept and send invitations complete with budgets.
The officers, upon receiving the invitations, forward them to the office of the county secretary for approval. Once the county secretary and the ministry concerned approve requests to travel out of the country, the officers then request per diem and other related travel costs, including accommodation. The accounts department, which is part of the cartel, would then be requested to process the payments and wire the money to their respective bank accounts even before they obtain the visas.
In some cases, the embassies reject the issuance of such visas, and the travel plans are then cancelled, but this happens when per diem and other travelling costs, including the purchase of tickets and accommodation costs, are already safe in the officers’ bank accounts.
The said funds already wired into the officers’ accounts are never refunded, even though the trip for which the officers were being paid was long cancelled. A perfect example of such a scheme where officers were paid but never made the trip was in June 2023, when seven county officers were cleared by the State Department for Devolution to attend a seminar in Israel for Creating an Ecosystem for SME Development to boost job creation.
Investigations reveal that the seven officers, namely George Mutiso (County Chief Officer), Martha Wambugu (Head of County Treasury), Daniel Mshanga (head of Exchequer), Daniel Nguru (Finance), Carroline Wanganga (Assistant Director of Debt Management), Tiras Kamau (Budget Officer), and Esther Wambugu (Assistant Director of Administration), were cleared to attend the above conference in Israel between June 29th, 2023, and July 12th, 2023, but never attended the conference.
We have further gathered that their travel was approved by the State Department for Devolution in the office of the Deputy President through a letter dated June 23, 2023, addressed to the Acting County Secretary and Head of County Public Service, Mr. Patrick Analo Akivaga. The letter (RefMDP/DD/ADM/6/20/VOL.XXIV(81)) signed by the Principal Secretary, Teresia Mbaika, authorized the seven officers to travel to Israel for the conference. The letter reads in part, “Authority is hereby granted for the under-listed county officials to travel to Israel from June 29th, 2023, to July 12th, 2023, to attend a seminar on creating an ecosystem for SME development. It is noted that Nairobi City County will cover all expenses pertaining to this trip. Kindly facilitate travel to Israel”.
Upon getting clearance from the State Department, the office of the county secretary began the process of securing visas to allow the said officers to travel. Unfortunately, the Israel Embassy, in their wisdom and for reasons only known to them, declined to issue visas.
Sources divulged that by the time the embassy was declining to issue visas, money had already been wired into the officers’ respective bank accounts. Interestingly, despite failing to travel, the officers never refunded the money to the county coffers.
It has also been discovered that several county staff members are rarely in the office as they are known to make numerous trips abroad. The group now known at City Hall as ‘City Hall sky-team members’ is known to make millions from such trips. Sources divulged that according to a leaked travel schedule, 49 of the county employees could have claimed per diems and allowances for trips they never attended.
According to sources, the leaked document indicates that travel occurred between June 14, 2023, and July 1, 2023, for the fiscal year that ended in June 2023. Further, the details show Dubai as the most frequented country, where 26 trips were made, followed by Canada, which has eleven trips, and Turkey, which has six.