Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja and the County Public Service Board are in a vicious but secret war over recruitment of county staff with each party accusing each other of bribery, nepotism and corruption.
It has emerged that Governor Sakaja, who is battling several corruption cases whose investigations are nearing completion and is under pressure to absorb on payroll people allied to powerful people in the national government who are trying to help him clear possible prosecution cases against him.
With the board trying to clear its name over past horrendous, illegal and corrupt decisions, it had resolved in a meeting held before end of last year to uphold integrity in staff recruitment.
However, it has further emerged that there is a special cartel operating as a proxy unit to senior internal staff who are interested in positioning people of their interest to specific positions at City Hall.
Governor Sakaja, having realised that the board and some senior county staff are ahead of him in the game has now written to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commision( EACC) over alleged practices over staff recruitment.
Sakaja has apparently invited EACC to probe corruption related activities over employment opportunities at City Hall
The governor wrote to EACC to among other things, probe cases of job seekers being coerced to pay money in exchange of jobs at City Hall.
In a letter dated 3rd January,2024, the governor wrote to EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak to help open investigations into the corruption in the county’s employment process.
He stated that various unsuspecting job applicants had fallen prey to a cartel of individuals and have been exploited and stripped of their finances.
“There have been alarming instances where job seekers are being coerced to pay money in exchange for employment opportunities within the various departments of the Nairobi City County Government,” reads part of the letter to EACC.
The governor said these acts are unethical,illegal and are undermining the integrity of employment practices.
The letter could further escalate the war between the governor and the public service board chaired by Thomas Kasoa and section of the board members.
This is in regard to distribution of employment opportunities with some of the board members believed to have complained of the governor insisting on employment of people only seconded by his office.
It has emerged that some of the board members have also complained to the EACC over the same in what could trigger sharp divisions at the county.
The County Public Service Board had previously complained to the executive over assigning of duties to officers outside their appointed substantive positions.
In a letter dated November 7th,2023 the board demanded that any officer performing duties outside their designated position to revert to their substantive position immediately.
The board has also had issues with the executive over alleged irregular suspension of officers.
The county is expected to employ more inspectorate and green army officers before the end of this year.
Apart from Sakaja and the Public Service Board, other senior government officers among them Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, Speaker Moses Wetangula and unknown representatives of President William Ruto are constantly pushing for major changes that will effectively lead to total absorption of their cronies to City Hall.
The County Public Service Board has severally written to the executive over stage managed redeployment of county officers as well as commitment of officers to duties that they were not substantially employed for.
The board has previously complained of sector heads assigning duties to officers outside their appointed substantive positions in a suspected scheme to siphon public resources.
The board last year, in a letter dated 7th November,2023 addressed to County Secretary Patrick Analo demanded that any office performing duties outside their designated position to revert to their substantive position immediately.
Concerns were raised about officers like Harry Mwahari who used to work in the department of Trade, Commerce, Tourism and Cooperatives as the Deputy Director, Vivian Mavua, Kevin Musamia who bribed his way through assembly, Beth Muthoni, Brian Oyando, Ambrose Musau, Denis Muia, Mary Maina and Mohammed Bashir but were moved under mysterious circumstances.
The current feud was also fueled by a letter dated 10th November,2023 from Chief Officer Disaster Management and Coordination Bramuel Simiyu to Chief Finance and Economic Planning Asha Abdi. The letter titled: ” UNAUTHORISED COMMITMENTS AND TRANSACTION ON IFMIS FOR THE DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND COORDINATION SECTOR, detailed how a number of transactions were made by staff inclined to Governor Sakaja.
The impunity at City Hall saw Nairobi County Assembly MCAs write to the EACC and DCI to take action against runaway corruption at City Hall
A section of MCAs have wrote to EACC and DCI to stamp authority and help curb the runaway corruption, nepotism and uncontrolled misuse of public resources at the county.
The MCAs asked for stern action taken against senior officers who are defrauding the public of their taxes and banking millions of questionable amounts.
Governor Sakaja is still battling a number of issues among them mystery of revenue collection,rot at the finance and procurement department and incompetency of senior officers.
Sakaja managed to manuever an impeachment scare after Kariobangi North MCA Joel Munuve in November vowed to start signature collection to impeach the governor over delayed bursary disbursement and incompetency.
The county has been struggling to meet its revenue targets with key officers among them Finance Executive Charles Kerich and his Chief Officer Asha Abdi on the spot.
The escalating graft situation got worse when it was established that some senior officers were chased away by bank over unexplained amount of money they want to deposit against banking regulations.
The officers failed to prove the source of their money and their efforts to have governor Sakaja who was part of the deal to intervene failed.
It has been established that detectives are almost concluding investigations where huge amounts of money are being were allegedly wired direct to county officials from suspected corruption dealings.
It merged that that a contractor by the name Mohammed Ibrahim Siyad who owns rogue and unqualified companies like Buko investments was at the centre of the deal that saw senior county officers turned away by a prominent bank working with the county.
Another contractor Milbo Lakes Enterprises owned by Millicent Ndinda Ngumbi were reported to be reaping big from dubious payments at City Hall.
Sakaja has also been battling payment of millions and billions to companies that have supplied air.
In November last year, Sakaja was under an impeachment threat.
Majority of the MCAs claimed the governor had failed to demonstrate capacity to run the city.
They accused Sakaja of misusing funds aimed taming environmental pollution, and the influx of cartels at City Hall.
“He is going home if this continues and I am personally going to lead signature collection to impeach him,” Kariobangi North MCA Munuve said.
Gatina MCA Kennedy Swaka is on record saying Governor Sakaja is taking MCAs for a ride by playing hide and seek games while at the same time promising ‘heaven’.
” The governor is playing ping pong games with our minds and we have to put an end to this,” Swakwa said.
Kileleshwa MCA Robert Alai has been vocal and declared the governor as a big joke.
Alai observed that Governor Sakaja has no full control of the revenue collection system and that the national government through the National Inteligence Service was allegedly in charge.
“The fact that the governor claims the NIS is collecting revenue is shameless. The governor does not even know who is collecting revenue,” Alai ranted.
He claimed that various departments at the county do not even have printing papers,operations at Pumwani Hospital are horrible and further laughed off the governor’s decision to change Umoja Level II hospital into a Mama Lucy Hospital Annex.
Alai added that Sakaja’s incompetency makes him worse than former governor Mike Sonko.
“I have never seen such an incompetent guy.Sonko is better a million times,”
Interestingly the ad-hoc committee that was established in September 2023 to look into the Revenue Collection System in Nairobi poked holes into the revenue system.
Several county officials have been on the radar of investigative agencies over corruption dealings.
Apart from County Executive committee member for finance Charles Kerich who is facing the wrath of MCAs, Finance and Economic Palling Chief Officer Asha Abdi,Markets Director Mohammed Bashir and procurement head Richard Mogoko, others being trailed secretly by detectives.
Other senior officials on EACC and DCI radar include Martha Wambugu the deputy County Chief Finance Officer (head of treasury) among others, who have allegedly supervised fake invoicing and other dealings.
The procurement department has been under sharp critism from suppliers and contractors over bribery and irregular tender awards.
While this is happening,media reports have been rife about senior people in the Kenya Kwanza government protecting corrupt officers at City Hall from possible arrests over corruption related activities.
Governor Sakaja is currently battling various system failures among them revenue collection strategies that are hardly working as planned.
For intance,what was supposed to be a reprieve for Nairobi City County residents and entrepreneurs in acquisition of business licenses seems to have failed.
The county unveiled an electronic Unified Business Permit (UBP) regime, to ease doing of business ans improve on revenue collected.
The UBP was to combine the business, fire, food, health, and advertising licenses into one.
The UBP is supposed to be available on the Nairobi City County Government’s NairobiPay Revenue service online portal but investigations reveal that the system is struggling to work.
The county has been missing on alot of revenue because of the tedious process of acquiring multiple licenses for businesses.
However, since the unveiling of the UBP, we can report that residents and entrepreneurs trying to access the portal have not been convinced about the workability of the entire system.
A staff in the licensing department confided to us how the system is giving them problems with the Kenya Revenue Authority who are still collecting revenue for the county also in the mix.
The staff revealed that by 5th January,2024 the portal had failed to work completely.