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Embu Governor Martin Nyaga Wambora has ignited a loud public disquiet by reshuffling his Cabinet barely two months to the August 9th General Election.
Embu Governor at a past event. He has appointed Ms Ruth Ndirangu who was impeached by MCAs over corruption allegations. Photo/COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS
In a shocking move, Agriculture Chief Officer Ruth Ndirangu who was impeached by Members of the County Assembly as Chief Officer Finance and Economic Planning in June 2019 on account of corruption, gross misconduct, incompetence and contravention of the law has been reinstated to the same position.

The controversial reshuffle has left many wondering why the Council of Governors Chairman

decided to reappoint an officer tainted with graft to handle public funds just after the Ward Reps

adjourned the County Assembly indefinitely and when his term in office was coming to an end.

In 2019, Evurore MCA Duncan Mbui who was chairing the Ad Hoc Committee investigating the conduct of the Finance Chief Officer fired the first salvo when he tabled a report recommending her removal from office within 24 hours after the 45-day investigation confirmed the allegations levelled against her and further investigations that would lead to her prosecution for economic crimes commenced.

The report questioned the Chief Officers academic qualifications, with witness evidence on oath

indicating that she authenticity of her academic papers could not be ascertained. Ndirangu is said to have acquired a Master’s Degree before an Undergraduate Degree and studying for less than one year to qualify a Bachelor’s Degree.

Ndirangu is also said to have been paying herself for supplying oxygen to the Embu Level Five

Hospital instead of releasing funds for repair of a dysfunctional Oxygen Generating Plant. She is said to have earned KSh 12 Million annually for supplying the gas to all Embu public hospitals, despite being no budgetary allocation or advertised tenders for such procurements.

Shoddy work

Mbui, in his contribution said the Chief Officer had contributed to the soaring Ksh 1.3 Billion pending bills by deliberately refusing to pay politically unfriendly contractors, billing the County Treasury for infrastructural works not done and favouring her cronies and awarding them inflated contracts then paying for shoddy work.

She was also accused of illegally diverting KSh 90 Million set aside to specific projects to her

preferred developments without the Authority of the Assembly and failed to honour summonses

when ordered to present herself before the Legislature to answer queries on her conduct.

However, in a circular dated 25th October 2019, Governor Wambora reappointed the accused officer to the same lucrative docket that she was deemed incompetent to serve in, sparking the outrage of the Ward Reps. The MCAs also accuse the Governor of usurping the mandate of the Chief of Staff by personally reshuffling and appointing public officers.

In November 2019, MCAs charged that Ms Ndirangu, acting as the Chief Officer for Finance,

irregularly made payment of KSh 60 Million for the acquisition of parcels of land in Mwea Settlement Scheme, namely, Parcel No. 4531 in which KSh. 23 million was paid to Njeru Ithiga and Co. Advocates and Parcel no. 4045 in which Kshs. 37 million was paid to Njue and Co. advocates.

The Chief Officer is also said to have irregularly paid KSh 22 Million in cash to three officers for land demarcation in Mwea Settlemen t scheme contrary to Section 121 and 156 (4) (d) of the Public Finance Management Act and Article 227 (1) of the Constitution and operated an undisclosed bank account for Runyenje s Level 4 hospital contrary to Section 153 of the Public Finance Management Act where she was a signatory as the accountant, a matter that was disclosed by the County Assembly Public Accounts and Investment Committee;

MCAs hold that the Chief Officer failed to pay pending bills for the County Assembly amounting to KSh 22 Million contrary to Section 156 (4) (cl) of the Public Finance Management Act and accumulated pending bills worth KSh 1.4 Billion contrary to Section162 of the Public Finance Management Act.

In addition, the Assembly heard that the officer failed to implement an approved budget on E-

Revenue system despite having paid over KSh 143 million to three firms and then failed to submit reports to the County Treasury and Assembly contrary to Section 164 and 166 of the Public Finance Management Act.

The MCAs, in a Special Sitting, invited the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to launch investigations and charge Chief Officers Ruth Ndirangu and Jayne Ndegi over documented cases of misappropriation of public funds amounting to KSh 300 Million. Ndegi was later promoted to CEC Lands despite the accusations.

Others affected in the reshuffle are Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Development CEC member Suleiman Kariuki who moves to Finance, acting CEC Finance Mary Mercy Wanja who moves to act as CEC Agriculture, Finance Chief Officer Damiano Muthee who moves to Agriculture in the same capacity and Health Administration Director Esther Karimi Mbogo who will now serve as the acting Chief Officer in the Ministry of Health. The changes take effect immediately.



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