Now Senate team recommends removal of Embu Governor

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martin wamboraThe fate of Embu County Governor Martin Wambora lies in the hands of Senators after a special House committee found him guilty of three out of the five charges facing him.

The Senate is currently holding what is expected to be a fiery sitting which started at 5.30 pm on Friday evening to debate findings of the Special Committee whose verdict is that the Embu Governor should be impeached for violating the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 and Regulations 2013, the Public Finance and Management Act and the Constitution.

The sitting will on Friday evening determine whether the governor will be removed from office or not based on the three charges found to have been substantiated.

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The charges on abuse of office and violation of the County Governments Act 2012 made against the Embu Governor were, however, found not to have been substantiated by the Senate team chaired by Senator Bonny Khalwale.

None of the charges made against Mr Wambora’s Deputy Dorothy Nditi were found to have been substantiated according to the report before the Senate, which let her go scot-free.

Committee chairman Dr Khalwale has already tabled the two reports before the Senate. The House adjourned for an hour to allow the Senators to go through the two reports before resuming debate.

The 11 member Special Committee whose membership was drawn from both the Majority and Minority sides has been holed up at the Windsor Hotel since Thursday evening preparing the report.

IRREGULARITIES AND MALPRACTICES

The team’s findings in the report on the governor are that there were procurement irregularities and malpractices and outright violations of the relevant laws and that he shall be held responsible for failing to take action.

The committee states that the only question was one of liability and whether responsibility for violations could be placed on the governor as the County Assembly had done or whether liability resided solely with the responsible officers.

It, however, says it is the considered view that while primary liability for violations of the procurement laws may lie with individual officers, Article 73 of the Constitution which provides for the responsibilities of leadership as read with 179 (4) of the Constitution and Section 30 (3) (f) of the County Governments Act, 2012 lead to the conclusion that the governor will be held liable for violations that occur during his watch and in respect of whether he or she does not take action.

It states that it appeared that the governor, although being the Chief Executive Officer of the county in line with Article 179 (4) of the Constitution, was a mere by-stander and observer in the procurement debacles that rocked Embu County.

On the Public Finance Management Act, the committee’s report points to a systems failure of the County Government. The Special Senate team says although the grounds cited may not be unprecedented or unique to the Embu County government, the governor should bear blame for inaction.

It states that far from showing remorse of conceiving of remedial action, the governor pleaded ignorance and shifted blame to his subordinate officers, concluding that he was culpable.

On the violation of the Constitution, the committee’s verdict was that there was considerable inaction and lack of oversight on the part of the governor in matters of procurement in respect of Article 227 of the Constitution.

“The Governor gave the impression that he had totally removed himself from the controversies surrounding the works of the Embu stadium and the defective maize seeds, leaving these matters primarily to the County Secretary, if not to no one in particular,” the Senate team states in its report.

The Senate team says the governor repeatedly argued that he would never involve himself in matters of procurement which should be an entirely different thing from taking action to deal with those responsible for procurement malpractice,

On abuse of office, however, the committee says the charge as framed was vague and unclear as it did not clearly and unequivocally demonstrate the manner in which the governor had abused office as contemplated under Article 181 (1) ( c) of the Constitution.-nation.co.ke

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