Embu MCAs query stadium facelift budget, accuse executive of graft
The Embu County Assembly’s Public Accounts and Investment Committee (PAIC) has raised the red flag over additional funding for the controversial refurbishment of Embu Stadium despite graft queries.
The committee’s chairman Ngari Makenge said the Sh24 million allocated for the completion of the stadium’s renovation works ought to be expunged from the 2016/2017 budget until investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and a graft case involving former County Secretary Margaret Lorna Kariuki and other senior officers are concluded.
Makenge disclosed that the County Executive had initially requested for Sh14 million from the Budget and Appropriation Committee, before the figure mutated to Sh48 million in the revised budgetary allocations, and finally came down to Sh24 Million in the final county budget that was passed by the Assembly on Friday July 1, 2016.
The Nthawa MCA said the Sh24 million would make more sense if it would have been allocated to roads, water or hospital projects in the far flung interiors of Embu County instead of ‘wasting’ the colossal amount in a contentious project riddled with graft allegations and ongoing litigation.
On his part, Nginda MCA Anthony Mugera, who is also a member of the PAIC, said there was something fishy about the controversial stadium facelift. He observed that the stadium had already consumed more than Sh90 million and was nowhere near completion, and wondered how much more money it would suck from subsequent county budgets.
Mugera warned that the stadium may be a cash cow for some corrupt individuals and urged the County Assembly to freeze further funding to avoid losing more of taxpayers’ money.
He added that it was illogical to continue funding a project that was at the centre of corruption investigations and whose tendering process was allegedly grossly flawed.
But Budget Committee Chairman Joseph Mwaniki scoffed at the MCAs for lamenting over the allocation of funds to the stadium and challenged them to ask the hard questions from the responsible officers.
He said the Assembly could no longer afford to “bury its head in a cloud of lamentations,” instead of doing proper oversight over the executive.
He said County Assembly Sectoral Committees had powers equal to the High Court to summon anyone in the county to give evidence into any matter in question, and called upon the MCAs who believe there were malpractices or maladministration in the award of the tender for the stadium facelift to summon and grill responsible officers.
By Antony Ndwigah
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