A pile of corruption that has been piling at the County Assembly of Bungoma for the last five years may soon burst all the rivers and oceans around the continent, if what we have gathered so far is anything to go by.
According to our sources, there’s an alleged conspiracy among the county assembly leadership, led by the speaker Mr. Emmanuel Situma and engineered by the clerk Mr. John Ongwae Mosongo to loot the county assembly coffers in the remaining session of the assembly.
It’s also understood that they’ve generally agreed to remove any member of staff who will dare stand their way. Consequently, there is wanton looting of public funds at the county assembly with impunity like in the recent case where a whoooing Ksh5.05 million, was fraudulently withdrawn from the imprest accounts between 8th Feb-15th, Feb 2021 using three employees accounts namely:
1). Abraham Simiyu, the payroll officer(KCB),
2). Purity Mwasame, Welfare officer-(DTB)-1.5 m, welfare officer.
Currently, there’s an investigation by EACC on a tender on refurbishment of the chambers project that was undertaken by a known company in 2017 at a cost of Sh 14M, where the clerk reportedly paid the company Sh14 million against the required tendering process. Additionally, the said work was not being done to specifications leading to the rejection of any further progress by the Inspection and Acceptance committee.
Besides, there’s an investigation on the purchase of county assembly bus where the clerk overturned the recommendations of the Tender Evaluation Committee and awarded Kenya Coach Services, a company that did not meet mandatory requirements to supply the bus at a cost of Sh5.6M.
Other recent scandals include:
- the irregular acquisition of Ksh 20M by the speaker from the members Car Loan and Mortgage Fund,
- loss of more than 80M shillings from the members Car Loan and Mortgage Fund irregularly advanced to members of the CLMC,
- promotion of former local authority staff without following the process;
- the scandal where the clerk reportedly increased his own salary by Sh510,000 without following due process;
- fraudulent payments made to a particular hotel that starts with the letter “J”for services not rendered,
- purchase of the land for speaker’s residence at an exaggerated cost of Sh7.6M, a land land does not meet the government specifications, am issue that has stalled the setting up of the residence in the said land.
Many other scandals that were investigated without substantial results from EACC include:
- the Medical Insurance Scheme scum where a broker was awarded a tender of Ksh 37M and later varied to Ksh 87M without following the procurement process;
- Imprest Funds scandals where three employees operated imprest funds in personal accounts and diverted the monies to personal benefits (Lillian Namukhasi, Antony Mulati , Charles Wafula);
- the Jubilee insurance scandal, where Ksh 14M meant for payment of staff and MCAs’ medical premium to Jubilee insurance was diverted and wired to a non – existent insurance proxy broker understood to be linked to the clerk. Investigations were done by IRA but the case was reportedly bungled.
- Further, there was the car pots scandal, where Ksh 12M was paid to a contractor in guise of arbitration for bungled works.
In the background of these scandals, employees who have been perceived to stand against craft and corrupt practices in the county assembly have been subjected to various forms of threats, severe intimidation, victimization, character assassination, harassment and stigmatization by the clerk of the county assembly and the speaker Emmanuel Situma. Those employees have been branded “anti- system” and termed responsible for reporting them to EACC.
The cases in question are in 2017 when the jubilee medical insurance scam was reported, two employees were suspended indefinitely for alleged whistle blowing; one, Francis Tome, the principal first clerk assistant and Martin Wamukota Situma, the senior SAA.
In 2019 when the county assembly bus scandal was reported, Mr Wamukota was sent on a 90 days unsolicited leave without explanation because it was alleged that he was behind the expose.
On 3rd March, 2021 when investigation on the irregular payment of Ksh 14M for refurbishment of the chambers to FRESPOS company was commenced by EACC, Wamukota was issued with a letter from the CASB in which indicated he had been demoted in the name of re-designation to a lower scale on allegations of having been appointed irregularly.
On inquiry from the clerk, he revealed that he had been informed by one Cherotich and one Rono, both officers at EACC Bungoma office that their regularity was reported by Wamukota.
Mosongo brags that the EACC Bungoma gives him daily briefs. Further he says that EACC cannot take any action against him as evidenced by the inaction against the previous cases that they were handling.
He has challenged any employees to dare go to court, noting that he will use county assembly resources to buy justice.
Mr. John Mosongo is campaigning for an MP seat in the forthcoming general election in North Mugirango constituency, Nyamira County and the speaker Mr. Emmanuel Situma intends to vie for Webuye East constituency seat.
Succession politics is also a motivation factor in this scheme. The Deputy Clerk is due to retire in June and the clerk plans to resign next year. As a result, the clerk is very keen to have his crony take up the deputy clerk’s position and eventually ascend to clerk position when he eventually exits.
He’s therefore involved in actively persecuting those employees who are in the succession equation, yet they don’t agree with his crafty ways.
In furtherance to this, he crafted charges against the principal clerk assistant Mr. Francis Tome, who stands interdicted on tramped up charges and is at home despite the court orders to reinstate him. This is meant to ensure continued cover up and protection after the clerk and the speaker’s exit.
The level of impunity at the county assembly of Bungoma is at its highest, there’s looting of public funds with abandon, employees have been intimidated to submission.