Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu Thursday (15th July) appeared before the Dr. Ochilo Ayacko chaired County Public Accounts and Investments Committee to answer audit queries from the Auditor General’s report for financial years 2018/19.
On the evening of 21st July 2019, a huge fire destroyed the Kitui treasury, directorate of economic planning, and records offices. During the fire, nothing was salvaged but firefighters from the County managed to put it out. A lot of crucial documents were lost in the fire and the issue came up during the senate grilling of Ngilu.
Senators sought to know the cause of the fire, the progress of investigations, and measures the county has since taken to get important treasury documents that were needed for auditing.
“This thing is going to be brought to an end to show the conclusion. And from our side am going to write a letter immediately asking the investigative officers to at least continuously report to us what they are doing. You know we all live in this country and you write a letter and you are told to wait.” Ngilu said.
Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua however noted that the County Executive was not the complainant but the DCIO is the one who started investigations and invited the county executive to record a statement.
“The matter is not for them it is for the DCIO.” Kiio defended the executive.
The chair Dr. Ochillo Ayacko called upon senators to come out clearly and assist the counties on the issues of fires as he had never been convinced by any governor on the issue of the fires.
Ngilu also defended herself by saying that, “From where I sit I have wondered why it is just the finance office that was burned down, why didn’t they burn the governor’s office or any other office? We need to ask ourselves.”
Senator Wambua also requested the governor to explain why the county has a lot of pending bills especially from the contractors who completed their work and were never paid. Ngilu answered that some of the cases of delayed payment were accrued from the previous Governor and some were not factored in the budgets then. She stated they were now having to fix them in the budget.
“We are squeezing it in our budgets today and I would like my honorable senator to know that I am as passionate as he is to make sure that the contractors are paid and I have met the contractors and pledged them that I’ll make sure that they are paid.”
However, Senator Wambua cautioned Ngilu not to blame former Governor Malombe saying that there is only one county government and she should know that the former Governor’s decision and her decision all affect the people of Kitui. Kiio noted Governments exist in perpetuity.
Ngilu blamed the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) that she says has never cleared any of the contractors for payment. The chair said that at least someone should be held responsible for the “reckless” then that has hurt many suppliers.