Top Stories / National
Thursday, 13 Oct 2016 18:08 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Machakos governor Alfred Mutua today won another round in the courts when the Court of Appeal stopped his prosecution over charges of abuse of office and illegal purchase of vehicles. Justices GBM Kariuki, Festus Azangalala and Ole Kantai granted orders blocking the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission from arresting and charging the governor.
The judges stayed orders issued by Justice Isaac Lenaola on September 23 allowing the DPP to commence a criminal case against Dr Mutua over the purchase of 16 vehicles for county officials. The Kenya Free Press reported exclusively how Dr Mutua left the country hours after Justice Lenaola ruled that he should face charges of irregular procurement.
Lawyer Wilfred Nyamu, representing the governor, had told the appellate judges that the DPP and the anti-corruption agency will arrest his client following the High Court order. Dr Mutua is alleged to have flouted procurement laws when he purchased pre-owned Subaru Outback vehicles for county executive committee members without competitive bidding.
Since Justice Lenaola's ruling, the whereabouts of the governor have remained unknown. Last week, he failed to honour summons to appear before the Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee to answer questions raised by the Auditor General.
Instead, a delegation led by the county’s executive for Finance Elizabeth Nzyoka represented him and explained to the committee that he was on an official trip out of the country. Nzyoka told senators the governor had notified the senate clerk of the same upon receipt of the letter of the summons.
“Dr Alfred Mutua is already out of the country and will not have returned by Wednesday, 5th October, 2016. It is practically impossible for him to appear personally,” read the letter addressed to the Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyengenye by Machakos Acting county secretary Grace Munguti.
Governor Mutua was to answer to the audit report on the financial operations of the Machakos County Executive in the 2013/2014 fiscal year which has revealed grave financial irregularities ranging from blatant flouting of procurement procedures, unsupported expenditure, huge pending bills and un-surrendered imprests to cashbook irregularities under the period of review.
Conspicuously, some of projects that have earned Dr Mutua accolades as being a performing governor were questioned by Auditor General Edward Ouko casting doubt on the governor’s financial prudence on the much-hyped Maendeleo Chap Chap mantra. For instance, the tarmacking of the 33km Kithimani –Makutano Ma Mwala by 11 contractors at a total cost of Sh568.7M did not have a procurement plan but the County Government still invited bids from eligible contractors for road works.
In his report the Auditor General, had questioned why there was no feasibility study carried out for the road and further queried the advertisement for the works done once in the Daily Nation and in a monthly publication called the Anchor contrary to Section 54 (10) of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2005.
The auditor had also questioned procurement of 70 ambulances at a cost of Sh145.3M which were second hand and that no needs assessment had been done before the ambulances were procured. Further, the logbooks for the ambulances were not produced for audit review and the vehicles have civilian number plates and registered in the name of a private company.