How Ex-Embu Governor Misused County Funds

By The Weekly Vision Reporter

Fresh details have emerged of how former Embu Governor Martin Wambora handpicked two legal firms and paid them Ksh. 5,870,200 without the approval of the Executive Committee. The former governor outsourced legal services in disregard of Section 16 of the Office of the County Attorney Act, 2020.

The payments were not supported by itemized fee notes and the respective status of cases handled. Governor Cecilly Mbarire has not been granted access to the contract particulars, which encompass the signed agreements between the law firms and the County Executive. It has also been discovered that, under Mr. Wambora’s leadership, another Ksh. 533,370 was paid to a firm for the provision of motor vehicle insurance services. The expenditure includes Ksh. 156, 069 in respect of insurance for a pickup that was privately owned by a commercial bank; no explanation has been given on why the cost of insurance was incurred on a privately owned vehicle.

A review of the county’s payroll for the year ended June 30, 2023, reveals that the county executive had 88 employees whose net pay was below a third (1/3) of their basic pay, contrary to Section 19(3) of the Employment Act, 2007, which states that public officers shall not overcommit their salaries beyond two-thirds (2/3) of their basic pay. During Mr. Wambora’s tenure, the County Executive had a total of 2,973 employees on its payroll. However, a review of the payroll revealed that 1,617, or 54%, of employees were from the dominant ethnic community, contrary to Sections 7(1) and (2) of the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008.

Further, payroll data revealed that the County Executive had overdue outstanding remittances totaling Ksh. 536,973,166 deducted from employee salaries aged more than a year and which had not been remitted to the respective entities. The deductions include contributions to various retirement schemes such as the Local Authorities Provident Fund (LAPFUND), the Local Authorities Pension Trust (LAPTRUST), savings and loan repayment to different SACCOs and banks, union dues, HELB, statutory deductions, staff welfare associations, insurance policy deductions, and the County Pension Fund. This was contrary to Section 19(4)(5) of the Employment Act, 2007.