Marsabit probes officials linked to graft

Marsabit County Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has this week been grilling its 12 accounting officers over alleged misuse of funds and breach of procurement laws.

The officials, including one from the county public service board and another from the governor’s office, appeared before the Sagante-Jardesa Ward Rep Adan Chukulisa-led committee.

The three-day inquiry follows a report prepared by Auditor-General Edward Ouko which implicated all the county government departments in misuse of funds and irregular procurement and tendering in the 2014/2015 financial year.

County assembly Speaker Mathew Loltome, however, declared the sittings private and barred the media and the public from following proceedings.

The speaker said the assembly was uneasy with the presence of the media and the public because it was handling an inquiry into the accounting officers’ conduct for the first time.

“We can’t allow you in since this is the first time we are probing the officers and we don’t know what you will tell the public,” the speaker told a battery of journalists who had been invited by the committee chairman.

The officials, who first appeared before the committee on Wednesday, were chief officer in-charge of Agriculture and Livestock Araro Halkano and his Trade and Commerce counterpart James Chiwe.

Youth and Sports chief officer Stephen Katelo and his education counterpart Mary Amina followed in the afternoon.

Other officers were expected to appear before the committee on Thursday and Friday.