Top Siaya County government officials have been accused of presiding over the corruption syndicate which saw over Ksh.400 million stolen from public coffers weeks to the general elections.
Addressing a press conference at his offices in Siaya Friday, Alego Usonga Member of Parliament Samuel Atandi said he will lead a mammoth demonstration to the county government headquarters to kick out the officials should they fail to vacate after one week.
Atandi implicated the county secretary Joseph Ogutu in the syndicate and is now demanding for his resignation. Ogutu served under former governor, Cornel Rasanga.
“The cartel from the previous regime think that they are untouchable after getting rich from stolen public funds” said the legislator.
He said the officials were part of a cartel that looted the county dry and were using the ill-gotten wealth to cover up for their deeds which saw the county get a raw deal since the advent of devolution.
Atandi said that the presence of the senior officials was likely to jeopardize the work of an independent taskforce formed recently by Governor James Orengo to investigate, among other things, alleged financial impropriety and human resource audit covering the last two financial years.
The taskforce is already in play and is being chaired by the former Auditor General, Edward Ouko.
“In other counties such as Busia and Migori, top officials who served under the previous regimes vacated their offices immediately the current governors took office. We want to see this happening in Siaya also so that audit can be done without interference” said Atandi.
The Ksh.400 million lose saw Governor Orengo order for a forensic audit in the county – among the first initiative he undertook after being sworn in.
“Indeed, without mincing words, the treasury in Siaya is rotten. The public is aware that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is also conducting investigations of cases of misappropriation within the county government. That is the right thing to do and must be expedited,” said Governor Orengo.
A day after the governor’s statement, officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) visited the county government headquarters and left behind a letter addressed to the county secretary, Joseph Ogutu demanding that his office surrenders a host of documents to the investigators.
The letter, signed by EACC’s Western regional manager, Mogare Oira, said the commission was investigating alleged corrupt conduct, abuse of office and irregular payments made between June 1,2022 and September 30, 2022 by the county government officials.
“To facilitate expeditious investigations, kindly provide original documents of the approved budget, approval for payments and work plans, payment voucher warrants, copies of cheques, payments schedules and receipts, cash book excerpts, bank account details where the funds were deposited,” read the letter dated September 29, 2022.