Bungoma county assembly is on spot for the misappropriation of public funds.
According to the report released by a lobby group Western Kenya Human Rights Watch on April 15,2020, it has called on Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to commence immediate investigations to help arrest suspects behind the dubious deals.
WKHRW executive director Job Bwonya is demanding for the Clerk John Mosongo who is the accounting officer and the Speaker Emmanuel Situma who is the chairman of the county assembly service board to be investigated for gross misconduct, more so for failing to protect public revenue and conspiring to defraud the public and mid use of public office for private benefit.
The report points outs that the county assembly lost Sh510,000 which was fraudulently paid to Hotel Joventure in Kisumu for the purported non existent report writing retreat by the house committee of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives.
Bwonya says that shockingly on the purported days between 7 and 17 of December 2017 the same committee was holding its regular internal sittings in the prencits of the Bungoma county assembly.
“I have payment invoice with me which shows the variance in payment mode, the invoice from Joventure hotel is dated December 17, 2017 while the IFMIS payment was made on December 14, 2017,” the report released reads.
Bwonya also says that the county assembly irregularly increased the salary of an officer number 19960013521.
“His salary was illegal increased by himself from Sh266,380 per month in June 2018 to Sh736,440, this is contrary to SRC circular July 2018 which states that officers from the defunct local authorities below salary scale N will retain their salaries until salary structures of the equivalent grades is harmonised by,” he says.
Bwonya is also demanding for the release of the evaluation report for supply of 33 seated bus and double cabin pick up.
He says the 8 bidders evaluation forms has more questions than answers, the awarded marks were deliberately altered to favour M/S Kenya coach industries limited and M/S Westfield motors ltd for supply to Bungoma county assembly of 33 seated luxury bus and Toyota Hilux double cabin respectively.
“There were no awarded weighting scores on the five questions requirements by technical evaluation despite being signed. Either there is no marks on the column of the evaluators or deleted and corrected marks,” he said.
The human rights activist says that the public needs an explanation as to why the committee went for the highest bidder at Sh4,980,000 for the 33 seated bus instead of the lowest bidder West Field Motors at Sh4,500,000 and Sh5,870,000 for the Double Cabin Pick Up instead of the lowest bidder Kenya Coach at Sh4,901,000.
“Kenya coach was knocked out by the evaluation committee which had recommended Central Farmers Garage but the Assembly Clerk went ahead and awarded Kenya coach, all the awards were contrary to the recommendations of the evaluation committee, professional opinions of the procurement officer and the legal officer, all the three arms had proposed the nullification if the entire process,” he said.
He says that secret sources revealed that MCAs were silenced with Sh50,000 each.
Bwonya is accusing the MCAs for failing to provide oversight but instead conspired to defeat justice by raising the issue and then disappearing from the scene allegedly after being compromised.
“This is why a lot of good intentions in devolution are being watered down by those charged with the responsibilities of representation and oversight,” he noted.
He added, “The assemblies have demonstrated lack concrete results on how public money is being used, they own companies that are involved in implementation, tenders and contracts with the county government, this has completely compromised their constitutional roles,”.
Bwonya is also accusing Mosongo and Situma for perpetuating fraud.
“If there is no sinister motive to defraud the people of Bungoma, why has the Assembly given four officers at the Assembly compulsory leave of 60 days with full pay?, it is allegedly that these officers tried to prevent the economic crimes, something that did not go well with the two senior officers who are believed to be the architectors of the fraud and who had no option but to definitely suspend them with full pay,” said Bwonya.
The activist also accuses EACC officers in Bungoma office of being a cheering box of corruption and presiding over the same in Bungoma county.
“It uses such serious allegations as avenues for kick backs and concealing fraud, we were better served when this office was in Kisumu,” stated Bwonya.
Efforts to get a comment from the two officers were futile.