Muranga governor Mwangi wa Iria grilled by senate over misuse of 213.4 million meant to cushion residents against Covid-19.
The Senate Health Committee pressed the governor to explain the expenditures by his administration which was flagged by the auditor general over the spending of Covid-19 funds.
The committee asked Wa Iria to justify how the funds were used without work plans contrary to the provisions of the County Governments Act.
In his defence, the governor said the plans were developed by the national emergency response committee in collaboration with the county executive. However, the committee questioned why the auditors had not seen the plans and why they were not presented to the Senate. The Panel ordered Governor Wa Iria to send the plans to the committee and the auditor general in seven days, failure to which the committee would proceed to file a report indicting the county boss.
He was also tasked to explain why his administration double paid a supplier for the supply of hydrogen peroxide, an allegation which he admitted to. Further, Wa Iria was tasked to justify the wrong computing of withholding tax that could have cost the taxpayer Sh657,482 and procurement of 3,700 bales of maize worth Sh5.57 million without requisition from the user department. The county also awarded tenders worth Sh3 million for the supply of surgical face masks to non-prequalified companies.
Earlier, the governor sent Health executive Joseph Mbai to respond to the queries in his place but he was turned away by the panel. The panel said it could not receive submissions from the CEC because it had invited the governor in his capacity as the county chief executive officer as stipulated in Article 179 of the Constitution.
It is unfortunate that instead of governors supporting the president’s Big four Agenda to provide affordable healthcare to Wananchi, they are frustrating government initiatives through misappropriation of funds. At a time healthcare services is strained due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, it is irresponsible, selfish and inhuman of the leaders to use the pandemic as a cash cow to enrich themselves. Governors should be in the forefront to support government’s efforts in the fight against corruption.