COUNTIESCRIME

Senators Call for Speaker Kingi Clarification on Stolen Funds Saga

Mr. Kingi served as the governor of the county for ten years, from 2013 to 2022.

Some senators have proposed that the Senate Speaker, Amason Kingi, appears before one of the Parliamentary Committees to shed light on the Sh51 million theft scandal in Kilifi County during the 2015-2016 financial year.

Mr. Kingi served as the governor of the county for ten years, from 2013 to 2022.

On Tuesday, members of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts (CPAC) suggested that Mr. Kingi and officials who served in his government provide crucial information to unravel the mystery surrounding the saga.

This comes after Kilifi Governor Gideon Munga’ro surprised the committee when he claimed that the money (Sh51 million) was stolen on one night in that financial year.

“Yes, I tell this committee that the money was stolen at night by people who had secret codes of county government officials. The money was transferred from the county’s account to the accounts of companies that were not awarded any contracts by the county,” he told the CPAC committee led by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’.

Mr. Mung’aro appeared before the committee at the KICC building in Nairobi to respond to questions raised by the Auditor General regarding the use of public funds in Kilifi County during the 2020/2021 financial year.

The issue of this scandal was raised in the report by Nancy Gathungu, even though it occurred in the 2015/2016 financial year and remained unresolved due to a lengthy investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

On Tuesday, CPAC members insisted that the former county governor and relevant officials must appear before the committee to provide insight into the saga.

“The former governor of Kilifi must be directed to appear before this committee because it has been established that he was overseeing a group of criminals. He should come before us accompanied by officials from the finance department in his government at that time,” said Busia Senator Okiya Omtata.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei supported the proposal, stating that all suspects involved in the theft must be compelled to return the money for the benefit of Kilifi residents.

“Since Sh51 million was stolen in 2015, the governor must appear before this committee to answer questions about the theft of this money. Although he is our speaker, the Constitution gives this committee the authority to summon anyone to provide evidence that will assist in the execution of its duties,” he explained.

This statement was also supported by Senators Richard Onyonka (Kisii) and Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo). However, Kajwang’ did not reveal when Mr. Kingi would appear before the committee.

Additionally, Senators Omtata and Dullo blamed the EACC for what they claimed was a delay in investigating the saga.

However, officials from the commission representing Ms. Gathungu in the committee said that so far, EACC has only recovered Sh9 million out of the stolen Sh51 million.

But in July 2021, Mr. Kingi absolved himself of blame, stating that his government took the initial step of filing a court case and was granted permission to recover the funds from the suspects.

He told the CPAC committee, led by then Migori Senator Ochilo Ayacko (now the governor), that EACC sabotaged those efforts.

“We filed a case in court and succeeded in obtaining a decision. But before we were granted permission to recover the funds, EACC opposed the decision, claiming that we did not have the legal authority to recover the stolen money,” he said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Mung’aro told CPAC members that his government has now sealed all avenues of corruption, assuring that such a scandal would not happen again under his administration.

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Abdul

Abdul is a journalist by profession having graduated from St.Paul University.

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