Why assembly wants Wa Iria out


Alleged allocation of county funds to a private enterprise and use of money on functions deemed to be under the national government are among the accusations against Governor Mwangi wa Iria, as he battles a bid by the Murang’a county assembly to send him home.

The assembly accused the governor of ignoring the County Integrated Development Plan that spells out the projects scheduled for implementation within stipulated times.

Ms Mary Waithera Njoroge, a member of the county assembly, who moved the Motion to have the governor impeached, said he was unilaterally spending public funds without the assembly’s approval.

“We constituted the Motion together. I only took the responsibility of moving the Motion because it had to be done by one of us,” Ms Waithera told the special Senate committee set up to investigate the matter.

She cited secondary schools that are supposed to benefit from funds from the national government and Murang’a Investment Cooperative Society as some of the projects that unfairly received county funding.

The MCA said the auditor-general’s report had revealed that the county spent more than Sh28 million on the cooperative society, touted as a forum to improve people’s socio-economic status, yet, it was a private commercial entity.

“The society has not been declared a county cooperative. It is a private entity and the county assembly was not involved in appropriating the funds,” Ms Waithera said at County Hall, Nairobi.

The governor’s lawyers Ng’ang’a Mbugua and Mr Peter Wanyama, who cross-examined the MCA over her role in pushing for the governor’s impeachment, argued that she moved the Motion from a point of ignorance.

They argued that there was nothing wrong with governors undertaking national functions as the Constitution allows the county government to cooperate with the national government in implementation of projects.

Mr Mbugua said the cooperative society was open for public membership and the county assembly had approved it and only recommended that it be restructured.

Mr Wanyama said the governor did not commit any crime as no money was lost in the projects being cited.

Senators Billow Kerrow (Mandera), Fatuma Dullo (Nominated), Prof John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot), Stephen Sang’ (Nandi) and Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay) took issue with the county’s resolve to spend such enormous resources on one cooperative society.

They also said partnership between the two levels of government must be within the law and not at the governor’s discretion.

“The envisaged cooperation is governed by law. Why engage in national functions without agreements? Have you passed a Bill to allow such kind of cooperation?” Mr Sang’ asked.

The governor, who sat through the proceedings, appeared composed and sometimes smiled as his lawyers engaged the county assembly officials during the sessions.

Some of his supporters were barred from accessing the venue.