By Kibande Mutua
And so, it happened that as initial revelations emerged of outrageous expenditures by PR guru and celebrity politician Dr Alfred Mutua, new twists continue to reveal themselves intermittently.
So incensed is the country’s Auditor General that some of Mutua’s lunacies may end at the Anti-Corruption and Ethics Court on bright Wednesday. Imagine, kitchen curtains in Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua’s office cost Sh1.6 million, parking canopy Sh1.4 million and renovating the lawns outside his office Sh492,000.
Like he often did during his days as the Government spokesman (8 years), Mutua outsorced a private company – Miramax – to erect his parking bay. The same company was used to install his Kitchen sheers and curtains.
The flowers for landscaping the lawns outside Gov Mutua’s office cost Sh394,000 and were procured from Brookly Nursery Box 368 K.R.G.
Unknown “customized items” from Hophill Creations Nairobi cost Sh1.3 million while door plates, flags and flag stands from same company cost Sh898,000.
“It is not clear how the supplier was identified in the absence of relevant procurement records/details,” a characteristic remark by the auditor runs through most of the payments.
On the “customized items” the report says there was no market survey done to ascertain their fair market value. It says the was no LPO for the flags and therefore the items were not ordered.
In other payments, one Morris Aluanga collected Sh200,000 for purchase of office furniture whose quotation from Odds & Ends Ltd was Sh160,000. The report says there was “an exaggerated amount of Sh 40,000.”
“In addition, only one quotation was gotten thus single sourcing.”
On June 12 last year, one Vincent Musili collected Sh300,000 imprest for visa application fees to United Arab Emirates which was not accounted for. Another officer Richard Muindi collected Sh108,000 imprest the same day for “zoom lion tour faciliation budget” also unaccounted.
In the same month, one Moses Chacha took a Sh109,000 imprest to construct a pigsty in the show grounds. In other unaccounted imprests, Charles Warutere took Sh1 million to pay casual workers, Patrick Mbithi Sh223,000 to hire “police, private guards, ushers and items for governors launch.”
In others, Bridget Wambua took Sh90,000 to purchase curtains and Francis Malili Sh180,000 allowance for a trip to China. Dr Mutua himself surrendered a Sh400,000 imprest for allowances while in Dubai while his Chief of Staff Mwengi Mutuse surrendered Sh258,000 imprest for the same trip.
In another transaction, one Urbanus Musyoka received a Sh50,000 imprest for snacks whose budget was Sh5,000: “This amounts to fraud/misuse of public funds,” the auditor says.
The report lists numerous other cases of improprieties where quotations and tender committee meetings were missing, where expenditure overshot budget and where products were single sourced.
These include the Sh36 million purchase of 15 cars and Sh10 million hire of Maanzoni Lodge for the inaugural investor conference. In the conference spending, Sh3.7 million was paid to Wander Joy Party World Ltd for tents against the initial budget of Sh1.1 million.
40 County MCA’s are identified in the report for having drawn out illegal payments. They were paid out Sh10,000 per day for ten days for an induction course which was to last 7 days.
“The irregular/additional payment for the three days should be recovered from the ward representatives,” the report recommends.
The report says Mutua’s government employed 156 employees in one month before conducting staff audit needs and before establishing public service board.
“Further appointments were done in September in total disregard of the existence of the County Service Board. An examination of the payroll data indicated that tax pins for 43 staff were invalid, thus casting doubts on how their tax deductions had been effected,” the report says.
Senator Johnstone Muthama opposed most of these early moves but the development propaganda by Mutua, which, at some point, roped in the country’s president, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, ensured he continued running the county in manner that can only be described as ‘dictatorial’.
Keep it here for more happenings in Machakos County.