A critic of Siaya governor James Orengo on Monday faulted the county boss for spending Ksh20 million on a taskforce to “table the obvious”.
The Operation Linda Ugatuzi leader Prof Fred Ogola told the Star that the taskforce was supposed to name the thieves instead of just saying that millions of money were stolen.
“Is there any finding that Ouko’s report has revealed that we could not tell? How much has it cost the people of Siaya to do this report?” paused Prof Ogola.
In October 2022, Orengo constituted an audit team to look into the financial, human resource and governance systems of the devolved unit.
The taskforce was led by retired Auditor General FCPA Edward Ouko and it delivered its report last Friday.
The taskforce reported widespread abuse of the financial systems: the Integrated Finance Management Information System (IFMIS), Imprest Account, Retention Account and the Payroll, among others.
The Ouko-led audit committee noted that lack of internal controls of the financial system made the finances of the county government susceptible to plunder by unscrupulous; and consequently loss.
Ouko and team has since recommended that the national investigating agencies; that is, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), be left to investigate the matter of alleged embezzlement of funds.
The taskforce wants the EACC and DCI to finish their investigations into the alleged embezzlement of public money totaling to Ksh1 billion, and apportion culpability as appropriate.
But investigation by the taskforce, Prof Ogola argued, was – in the first place – supposed to be geared towards holding the culprits to account.
“The people of Siaya were expecting to know who stole their money but the taskforce is not mentioning the thieves,” he pointed out.
Prof Ogola, who hails from Jera in Ugenya constituency, is of the opinion that the report is too week and will not impact anything.
“In a scale of 1-10 I give the report a 2. The quality of that taskforce report cannot even generate the interest of the EACC, “the don claimed.
He argued that “all cases die at investigation level; not at prosecution” and thus, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will drop the case for lack of enough evidence.
The report is good for intellectual purposes but holds no culprit to account, he said.
In a typical example of doomsaying, Ogola wants the people of Siaya to brace themselves for another 10 years of failed devolution.
He claimed that Orengo is good at legislation and not execution.
“Let the people of Siaya brace themselves for ‘Rasanga 2’ in the name of governor Orengo.”
Prof Ogola told the Star that, the taskforce knows the names of the culprits but chose to withhold them because they are the people who call the shorts in Siaya, politically speaking.
Speaking during the release of the report last Friday, Siaya County Assembly speaker said that the house had supported the Taskforce operation by allocating money for it.
Though he did not mention how much, the Supplementary Budget which was approved by the assembly in November 2022 allocated some Ksh20 million for a “Taskforce in the Finance department”.
The Star reached out to speaker Okode on phone for clarification on this but he was not responding to messges.