Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua’s strategy to save on the budget for vehicles for his county ministers landed him in the Ethics and Anti-Corruption files, which are now a subject of corruption discussion.
The EACC investigations on the governor were based on a letter from Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, who contested the purchase procedures of the vehicles.
Senator Muthama sought an investigation of the purchase and procedures used to determine whether they were above board.
Dr Mutua bought 15 Subaru Outback vehicles and one Land Cruiser V8 for use by his county ministers at a cost of Sh33 million.
According to his spokesperson, Mutinda Mwanzia, the balance of the funds was spent on purchase of ambulances for the county and no money was lost.
On Saturday, the county spokesman said the governor had applied the strategy of “value for money” and bought cheaper vehicles with lower fuel consumption rate to save on expenditure.
“The governor is being investigated because he purchased cheaper vehicles for county ministers and used the remaining money to serve citizens,” he said.
His supporters also defended him through comments on online reports concerning the appearance of his name in the list of the corrupt.
“Call it propaganda, show-of, or whatever… this guy is doing what he was called to do. The rest are there to enrich themselves. If this is corruption, I don’t know what accountability is,” an online reader commented.
“If saving the poor people of Machakos money is corruption, then so be it,” another stated.
Most counties spent at least Sh150 million to buy cars for their county executive officers. Machakos, however, cut a niche for itself, spending Sh33 million on the vehicles. The rest of the money, according to the governor, was spent on purchase of ambulances for 70 locations in the county.
His spokesman said the vehicles are still in good shape and have given the county value for money.
“When they were purchased, mechanical engineers from the national government inspected the vehicles and found them fit. EACC also gave the inspection report a clean bill of health,” he said.
INVESTIGATE EACC OFFICERS
Elsewhere, two governors mentioned in graft allegations want the President to appoint an agency to carry out an investigation into the backgrounds of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officers.
Governors Godana Doyo of Isiolo and Marsabit’s Ukur Yattani were among the public officers linked to corruption — who were directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta during the State of the Nation address at the National Assembly on Thursday to step aside and pave way for investigations.
The two governors maintained they were innocent of the allegations, adding that a team should be formed to probe EACC officers and any related body that proposed their names as corrupt leaders.
Governors Doyo and Yattani have boldly accused the commission of using its office to “tarnish” their names on political grounds.
The two maintained that they had never heard of any inquiry by EACC, nor had it ever been brought to their attention that they were under investigation for any act of corruption.
“The rule of natural justice demands procedural fairness and the right to be heard. The move by the EACC is therefore a clear violation of those principles,” said Governor Yattani.
The two governors also revealed that the commission’s secretary is on record to have publicly used his position to undermine and control the leadership of both Isiolo and Marsabit counties, for the purpose of safeguarding his interest in the region.
Both governors however stated that the move was suggestive of events that happened earlier in their counties, including an attempt to dissolve the County of Marsabit on basis of insecurity and allegations of unfairness in resource distribution, ostensibly furthered by his office.
On the other hand, Governor Doyo claims that Mr Waqo was investigating wrangles pitting members of the County Assembly, the Assembly speaker and himself and alleges that Speaker Mohammed Tubi together with Mr Waqo are known to be giving directions to the EACC staff sent to investigate the saga.
Marsabit and Isiolo governors said they do not understand the context of the report which associates them with corruption.
They said that despite the frantic efforts to “fix” them, they had never been summoned by any oversight agency or institution, including the EACC and the Senate.
The two, however, refused to step down, saying the law was very clear on issues of incrimination, adding that there are procedures on vacation of office which must be adhered to.
The governors were speaking in Isiolo town during a press briefing held to condemn graft allegations against them.
Separately, Tigania East Member of Parliament Mpuru Aburi has hit out at Meru county governor Peter Munya.
He asked him to stop using Deputy President William Ruto’s case in the International Criminal Court as the reason he (Munya) should not step aside for investigations to be conducted after he was adversely named as one of the governors involved in corruption.
Speaking to Sunday Nation, the MP said there was a great difference between the DP’s case in ICC and the corruption issues that were allegedly facing the governor.
He said it would have been taken as a bold step if Mr Munya stepped aside so that investigations could be conducted, which would prove him guilty or not of the allegations raised against him.
“If Mr Munya thinks he is as clean as he would like people to believe, he should have taken the bold step of stepping aside and allowing investigations to be carried out,” he said.
“He should not be heard dragging the Deputy President’s name into his own issues since there is a very big gap between Mr Ruto’s cases at the ICC and Munya’s corruption issues here in Kenya. Furthermore, Mr Ruto has always been complying with the court requirements,” he said.