18 June 2018

Kenya: Nairobi Speaker in Near Blows at City Hall Over Corruption Probe

Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi had to be restrained by security guards on Thursday as she engaged in an ugly spat with County Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele at City Hall.

The two feuded over ongoing investigations Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on suspected financial misappropriations, including procurement and transfer of funds carried out by the clerk's office.

The fall out almost turned ugly as the two officials confronted each other at the Assembly's corridors where a shouting match ensued, with security moving in swiftly to separate them.

'RUIN MY LIFE'

"Why are you destroying my career? Why do you want to ruin my life? Why should you try to embarrass me?" posed Mr Ngwele.

But the Speaker retorted: "Don't raise your voice at me. We shall give you time to defend yourself. You should not raise your voice on me."

According to a report by the Auditor General for the year ended June 30, 2017, Sh42 million was irregularly transferred from the Assembly's car loan account to various accounts between August 8, 2016 and May 26, 2017 for unexplained purposes without approval of the County Executive in charge of finance, contrary to Section 116(3) and (4) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012.

The report also raises questions on the movement of another Sh2 million in the same account which the Clerk, as the Assembly's chief accounting officer, could not explain satisfactorily.

WITCH HUNT

Mr Ngwele has insisted that the ongoing investigation is a witch hunt aimed at tarnishing his name.

He claimed he's being targeted for his refusal to approve proposals on the acquisition of the Speaker's residence in Karen said to be valued to the tune of Sh150 million.

The Speaker has, however, denied the allegations.

"I never called the DCI. We were told that they will be landing at City Hall. They are investigating issues of 2015/2016 where they have nearly seven documents from the Assembly," she said.

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