EACC queries Governor Anne Waiguru on Sh52m pending bill

Friday, September 10th, 2021 00:00 |
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru addressing journalists after appearing before the EACC at Integrity Centre in Nairobi yesterday. Photo/PD/PHILLIP KAMAKYA

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru was yesterday grilled by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives over a Sh52 million pending bill in her county.

The governor had earlier been summoned by the anti-graft detectives, which she had dismissed as political witch-hunt.

EACC has, however, dismissed the allegations, saying they were investigating genuine concerns of an alleged pending payment of Sh52 million allocated by the Kirinyaga County Assembly for a pending bill dating back to 2010.

The money was for sub-division, allocation and cadastral mapping of over 7,000 acres of South Ngariama Settlement Scheme.

Waiguru arrived at the commission offices in Nairobi at around 11am accompanied by her lawyer and was later joined by Lugari MP Ayub Savula; whose involvement in the matter remained unclear. She remained there for about three hours.

After recording her statement, the governor said; “This is all political, it is just intimidation after my recent statements.”

Outstanding amount

Her grilling came days after she claimed witch hunt by the State agency over her anticipated change of political position.

“Recently I said I am introspecting on the political way forward and immediately I get EACC summons.

Is it just coincidence, witch hunt or the usual attempt to shape narratives for 2022 politics,” she posed.

After the grilling, Waiguru sought to explain the genesis of the case. According to her, the land was vested into trusteeship of the defunct Kirinyaga County Council and was earmarked for demarcation and allocation to the residents.

She said the defunct local authority contracted Geo-acre Surveyors to subdivide, allocate and cadastral survey.

In so doing, the contractor was to assign land for public utility, for wetland including riparian and the rest to rightful private owners.

The contract sum was Sh74 million of which the defunct county council only paid Sh21 million, leaving an unpaid balance of Sh52 million.

In the last financial year, the assembly allocated Sh52 million to offset the outstanding amount and secure the release of survey maps and completion of the titling process

“It is important to note that of the Sh52 million no shilling has been paid and therefore no monies have been lost,” she said yesterday.

She added that according to the Surveyors Regulations Schedule 8 of the Constitution, only a contracted surveyor is allowed to issue the title deeds.

“It is also worth noting that should the titling process be started again, the current rate of contract would be at Sh300 million,” she said.

Waiguru further maintained that it is the role of the county assembly to approve allocation of various development expenditures, with due consideration of the best interest of the residents, adding that failure to conclude the matter had led to grabbing and encroachment of the land at an alarming rate by the leaders and politicians

The governor also said they had been summoned on many occasions but such probes had not yielded any result.

“The last summons was issued immediately after my pronouncement about my political move. It is now obvious that EACC is being used to intimidate us to remain silent.”

EACC officials said they wanted information on the attempted fraud.

Waiguru had last year been grilled by the commission officers over the alleged misappropriation of imprests by her office.

During her failed impeachment, MCAs claimed the county chief was irregularly paid travel allowances amounting to Sh10.6 million “yet she did not make the trips”.

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