STATEMENT ON CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND ILLEGAL PAYMENTS IN NAIROBI CITY COUNTY
Dated: Friday, February 28, 2020 at Upperhill, Nairobi
My attention has been drawn to a misleading article authored by one Nyambega Gisesa and published in the Daily Nation of Friday, February 28, 2020 insinuating that “my enemies” have had the last laugh.
Foremost, I do not understand what a leading newspaper, that has of late fashioned itself as Kenya’s most circulated gutter publication, finds laughable about fanning illegalities that have taken place at City Hall since February 1, 2020. That such mischief can find space in their newspapers reeks of high irresponsibility in journalism, anchored on carelessness that does not bother with the facts.
As such, I wish to categorically state as follows, and set the record straight:
- On 5th November 2019, the Office of the Auditor General issued the Nairobi City County Compliance Audit Queries 2018-2019, among others, highlighting possible conflict of interest in payments made to companies related to County Executive employees. On 27th January 2020, we did a search at the Registrar of Companies and established that the director/shareholder of one of the companies highlighted by the Auditor General, Nanku Company (Kenya) Limited, is Nancy Wanjiku Kahiga, the mother of then Acting CECM Finance and Economic Planning, Pauline Nyambura Kahiga Waititu.
- Subsequently, on January 30, 2020 I reorganized the Nairobi City County Government, in line with the provisions of Section 30 (2) (d), Section 31 (a), and Section 40 (1) of the County Government Act 2012, removing Pauline Nyambura Kahiga Waititu as County Executive Committee Member with immediate effect and appointing Allan Igambi as the CECM, Finance & Economic Planning. However, Pauline Kahiga refused to vacate office and continued directing the making of illegal payments, working in cahoots with the former County Chief Officer for Finance and Economic Planning, Washington Odhiambo Odingo, who was dismissed from service on February 19, 2020.
- On 5th February 2020, I wrote to the Principal Secretary National Treasury Dr. Julius Muia, the Controller of Budget Dr. Margaret Nyakang’o and the Governor of Central Bank Dr. Patrick Njoroge communicating the changes in the Nairobi City County Finance Department and specifically that Pauline Nyambura Kahiga Waititu is no longer authorized to transact any business for or on behalf of the Nairobi City County Government in whatever way.
- However, starting 21st February 2020 Pauline Nyambura Kahiga Waititu and Washington Odhiambo Odingo went ahead to pay her mother’s company Nanku Company (Kenya) Ltd despite being highlighted by the Auditor General as being in clear conflict of interest. In addition, the three continued to pay themselves illegal per diems totaling up to Ksh. 3 Million each as of today.
- All this confusion arose from the failure by the Government Printer to Gazette the new County Executive Committee Member for Finance and Economic Planning in accordance Section 30 (2) (l), as they sought a legal opinion from the Attorney General to get an interpretation of my bail terms, before implementing my Gazette Notice.
- The Honourable Attorney General, through the Solicitor General, gave his legal opinion dated 21st February 2020 and in which opinion in the penultimate paragraph rendered himself thus:
“Consequently, the decision by the County Governor to reshuffle the County Executive Committee, including by appointing a substantive County Executive Committee Member for Finance and Economic Planning is sound in law. In the circumstances, it is our considered opinion that as the law currently stands, there is no legal basis for the Government Printer’s decision not to effect the above-mentioned gazettements as requested by the County Government.”
- Given the foregoing, it is clear that Pauline Kahiga and Washington Odingo have been masquerading as employees of the Nairobi City County Government and operating illegally, while at the same time abusing the name of Statehouse and the Presidency to threaten other County officials as they perpetuate their illegal activities.
- I call upon the relevant agencies to investigate the criminal activities that have been perpetuated by the duo, with the object of taking appropriate legal action to save the Nairobi County taxpayers, as the Government Printer executes the degazettement of Pauline Kahiga to avoid more illegal transactions in future.
- As I have stated before, I was the first Governor in Kenya to constitute a Pending Bills Verification Committee chaired by Prof. PLO Lumumba, after I inherited a debt in excess of 64 billion shillings. The committee reviewed the Bills to 23 billion shillings, which I further subjected to the Office of the Auditor General, further reducing them to 11 billion shillings which we have been paying.
- Given the above, it is malicious and insincere for people to claim that my reorganisation of the Finance Department was inspired by my desire to benefit from the Pending Bills. On the contrary, I have been consistent in ensuring Nairobians get value for their money, and that fictitious Bills are never paid under my watch. Otherwise, it would have been easy for me to process the 64 billion shillings and receive kickbacks as was the practice before, but I chose to put the interests of the great people of Nairobi before everything else.
- Lastly, I wish to reiterate my commitment to the Deed of Transfer of Functions that I signed with the National Government. Nairobi remains unique as the Capital City of Kenya, and this new arrangement shall go a long way in ensuring greater investment into critical sectors and services of the City in our efforts to restore the long lost glory of “the green city in the Sun.” I wish to thank His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta for this commitment, and wish to assure the people of Nairobi that I will continue to do my best to ensure that the remaining six (6) out of the ten (10) functions of the County Government are successfully executed in line with the Constitution and laws of Kenya.
H.E. Mike Mbuvi Sonko, EGH
GOVERNOR, NAIROBI CITY COUNTY.