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Counties

Blow for Waititu as Rerec boss Simon Gicharu rejects offer to head team

Mr Simon Gicharu
Mr Simon Gicharu, the chairman of the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (Rerec) has rejected an appointment by Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu to head a committee on pending bills. PHOTO | FILE | NMG 

The chairman of the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (Rerec) Simon Gicharu has rejected an appointment by Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu to head a committee on pending bills.

Mr Waititu, through his Finance Executive Committee Member Francis Kigo Njenga, on Friday published in the Kenya Gazette names of officials who will sit in the body to help clear a backlog of bills, some inherited from the administration of former governor William Kabogo.

But Mr Gicharu Monday told the Nation by phone that he was never consulted by the governor or his government before his appointment.

Courtesy

"Basic courtesy should have dictated that they reach out to me before making such an announcement. At least by doing so, they would have gotten my views on whether I have the knowledge, skills and time to discharge such a task. That said, I will not be taking up the job," said Mr Gicharu, who is also the founder of Mount Kenya University.

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"It is notified for the general information of the public that the county executive committee member for Finance and Economic Planning has constituted the pending bills committee," the Kiambu Finance minister announced.



The gazette notice.

The gazette notice.

Busy

Mr Gicharu said that other than it being brought to his attention by those who had seen it in the Kenya Gazette, the work at Rerec and other business engagements cannot allow him time to take up on another public duty.

"We cannot afford any distractions at the moment when we are trying to align our focus at Rerec with the President's big four agenda" he said.

Governor Waititu is currently battling to clear his name in court after being charged with abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud the public some Sh588 million.

Other members of the committee, which is expected to finish its work within 30 days, are Joel Ngeru, Hannah Muchai, Peter Njenga and Edwin Njuguna.

Development

Mr Gicharu, who hails from Kiambu County, is also a member of a forum that tracks development in the area.

Doing business with counties has become risky for contractors due to delays in payments, resulting to bankruptcy suits and social conflicts.

Last December, suspended National Treasury CS Henry Rotich ordered an audit of all pending county bills after it emerged that suppliers, especially those who dealt with governors bundled out of office in the 2017 elections, were finding it hard to get their dues from the new regimes.

Contractors and suppliers were owed over Sh100 billion by the county governments by 2018.

Most of these pending bills are yet to be cleared despite a presidential order requiring clearance ahead of the end of the fiscal year in June 2019.

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