Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi has hailed the leadership of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, saying the Governor has stepped up the war on corruption, adding that the Governor has also fully supported functions of the assembly.
Elachi has however assured Nairobians that the Assembly will continue to function effectively even after five senior County assembly officials led by Clerk Jacob Ngwele were charged with conspiracy to steal Sh1 million from the Nairobi County assembly.
Elachi said Ngwele and the four others will remain out of office until their cases are determined. Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Elachi said other officers will be appointed on an acting capacity to replace the five.
The Speaker has now invited the Auditor General to probe the accounts of the assembly following revelations of a Sh7 million debt owed to Kenya Revenue Authority.
Ngwele and four others were on Monday charged with conspiracy to steal Sh1m from the Nairobi County Assembly.
The senior staff included Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele, Deputy Clerk Adah Onyango, senior procurement officer James Kariuki, senior finance and Planning Officer Fredrick Mwangi, principal accountant Philomena Nzuki and businessman Raphael Maluki. Maluki, the proprietor of Primara Ventures Ltd was accused of receiving the money from the County assembly as payment for supply of books for the County assembly resource centre when the books had not been delivered.
Mr Ngwele faced other charges of abuse of office and wilful failure to comply with procurement rules when he allegedly used his office to confer the benefit to Primara Ventures Ltd for goods not supplied. The other officials faced additional charges of undue influence and conflict of interest by failing to disclose that they had shares in the companies irregularly awarded contracts by the assembly. “On June 29 2017, the officials jointly conferred a benefit to Primara Ventures Ltd and fraudulently made payments of Sh997,926 to the company for books not delivered thereby causing the County assembly to lose public funds,” read the charge sheet.
The accused were charged following investigations after the County Assembly’s internal audit report for the 2016/2017 financial year showed discrepancies in financial expenditure. 22840 According to the prosecution, the audit report revealed that Primara Ventures was irregularly awarded a tender for the supply of books to the Nairobi County Assembly Resource Centre and the money paid on June 29, 2017 although no books were supplied.
They all denied the charges before senior principal magistrate Lawrence Mugambi who released each on a cash bail of Sh300,000.