By Micah Sali.
Sleuths from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) have pitched tent at the County Government of Bungoma over illegal recruitment of County Secretary, Wakoli Wambati.
According to EACC, the recruitment of the new County Secretary did not follow the due process of the law.
This was despite Governor Wycliffe Wangamati’s administration having full knowledge that the incumbent county secretary (Murumba Chiuli) had not vacated his position officially.
Mr Chiuli is having a case at the Kakamega Law Courts over alleged misuse of public funds.
Mr Chiuli was arrested in July 2018 with 6 other senior County officials and arraigned at a Kakamega Magistrates court by the EACC sleuths for allegedly misappropriating 2.36 million meant for MCAs allowances for 2014/15 financial year.
He stepped aside until he is cleared by the court but the county government went ahead and employed a new county secretary. Chiuli had not relinquished his position.
It appears the county has two county secretaries paid by public coffers illegally.
A senior county official told CGN news that the anti-graft body has been preparing to arrest the new county secretary (Wambati) who was employed with full knowledge that the incumbent had only stepped aside.
“According to the County Government Act, once the incumbent has stepped aside, the governor should appoint the deputy county secretary in acting capacity or any other person to that position until the position is advertised and competitively taken by another qualified person,” said the official.
A CEC member who sought anonymity on the other hand faulted the County Assembly of Bungoma for vetting and approving an individual to fill a position that is occupied, adding that it was an illegality by the county government to immediately employ another county secretary to take over Chiulis’ position that was not vacant.
The Citizen for Good Governance executive director Phillip Wanyonyi Wekesa has also questioned the integrity of the new county secretary saying that the County government should be investigated for failing to follow due process as stipulated in the constitution.
‘“Who pays him and why should they waste public resources by paying two secretaries at ago. This is impunity that should not be condoned!”
The EACC is seeking for answers from the county government on how it has been operating with two employees in the same position while the former county secretary’s’ fate has not been decided by the courts.
Besides the controversy surrounding his recruitment, Mr Wambati is at logger heads with his former employer, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). He didn’t resign at his previous work station and has been drawing two salaries.
KRA wants him to refund a salary of three months over breach of contract.
The County Guardian News has established that KRA demanded that Wambati pays them 2.1 million shillings for breaching his employment contract before being released to the county. The 2.1 million shillings is his three months’ salary.
An intimate source within the county government inner circle said that efforts by Wambati to have the county pay for the money he was paid as salary by KRA hit a snag as the finance department said it will raise audit queries.
The source said Wambati has been getting two salaries and even area residents have raised queries why he left a job he was earning Sh700,000 to come to the county and earn sh320 ,000.