Senate Committee acquits Waiguru, says impeachment charges unsubstantiated

Senate Committee acquits Waiguru, says impeachment charges unsubstantiated
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru appearing before the senate commitee for her impeachment hearing on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. PHOTO| COURTESY

The Senate Select Committee appointed to probe the impeachment of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has acquitted her, saying the County Assembly, who were the accuser, did not substantiate charges leveled against her.

According to the committee, the County Assembly did not provide evidence directly linking her to alleged corruption, abuse of office and violation of procurement regulations.

“The Committee having investigated the matter in accordance with its mandate under section 33(4) of the County Governments Act and standing order 75(2) of the Senate Standing Orders reports to the Senate that it finds that the two Charges against the Governor have not been substantiated,” concludes the Committee.

According to the 11-member Committee led by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malalah, the County Assembly did not substantiate allegations that Waiguru failed to deliver the annual State of the county address for the Financial year 2018/2019 to the County Assembly and that she undermined the authority of the County Assembly.

“From the evidence adduced before the Committee, the Governor demonstrated that two Annual State of the County Address was made. One albeit was not delivered in the County Assembly. The Committee further noted that there is no county legislation to provide for the content of the Annual State of the County Address as required by section 30(2)(k) of the County Government Act,” reads the report.

On the allegation of violating procurement regulations, the committee noted that from evidence adduced before it, there was a clear mismanagement of some tenders, but they were not linked to Waiguru thus recommenced that the DCI and EACC delve deeper into the allegations, and using their forensic expertise, identify culprits for prosecution.

“Of the 12 tenders listed in the Motion, the County Assembly only prosecuted four of them. Of the four tenders prosecuted, the Committee notes that there was clear mismanagement of the tender process where tenders were awarded to Companies whose bids were not responsive or where there were clear cases of conflict of interest,” adds the committee.

“In the circumstances, the Committee recommends that investigatory authorities undertake investigations on the same and the culpable officers including the respective Tender Evaluation Committee members be called to account.”

The Committee further pointed out that Governor Waiguru discounted allegations by the County Assembly that she pocketed allowances for foreign trips that she did not travel.

According to the committee, the Governor adduced evidence of the travel and where travel was not undertaken, the imprest was surrendered though out of time. While this was an offence, according to the committee, it did not amount to an impeachable offence.

On violation of the Right to Health of the people of Kirinyaga county, the committee established that there were
significant systemic problems in the health sector in Kirinyaga but recommended the issues be addressed as soon as possible by the various organs including the County Assembly and National Government institutions.

“The Committee further notes the high turn-over of health workers in Kirinyaga County and the inordinate delay in the payment of health workers who pursuant to the Governor’s moratorium, resumed work. This issue should be addressed forthwith. The Committee finds that this allegation was not proved and is therefore not substantiated,” added the report.

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