Senate upholds charges against Siaya DG William Oduol
Senate Special Committee has upheld charges levelled against Siaya Deputy Governor William Oduol.
The committee found that the allegations of gross violation of the Constitution, abuse of office and gross misconduct have been substantiated.
Senate Speaker Amason Kingi suspended the House for 30 minutes to give room for Senators to acquaint themselves with the contents of the report.
The committee decision was unanimous as the 11 committee members appended their signatures to impeach the embattled deputy governor.
In his closing remarks before the House, Oduol’s legal counsel Moses Chelang’a called on the Senators to find a way of mediating disputes between the governors and their deputies.
“We know who wants the head of the Deputy Governor. This should have been a joint impeachment of the Governor and the Deputy Governor. You should have a policy on mediating the issues between the Governor and his deputy,” said Chelang’a.
During the debate on the motion, it took a political prism with those allied to the Kenya Kwanza opposing the motion to save the deputy governor while those allied to opposition chief Raila Odinga supported the impeachment.
Senators Karungo wa Thang’wa (Kiambu), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Alex Mudigi (Embu), John Methu (Nyandarua), Tabitha Mutinda (nominated) and Esther Okenyuri (nominated) dismissed the report arguing that they cannot sanitize the politics of Siaya at the Senate.
However, Senators Dr Oburu Odinga (Siaya), Enock Wambua (Kitui), Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi), Okong’o Omogeni (Kisii), Catherine Mumma (Nominated) and Beatrice Ogolla (Nominated) urged the House to impeach the DG on grounds that he had grossly violated the Constitution.
This is after the Senate Special committee having investigated the matter in accordance with its mandate under section 33 (4) of the County Government Act found that the charges leveled against him had been substantiated.
“That the charge against the Deputy Governor on gross violation of the Constitution and other laws, on the allegation of interference with the procurement process through acts of bid-rigging has been substantiated,” reads part of the report.
“That the charge against deputy governor on abuse of office and gross misconduct on the allegations of misleading the public by giving false information has been substantiated.”
According to the committee, the evidence adduced and presented demonstrated that the deputy governor’s utterances that the County Secretary Joseph Ogutu was forced to resign by the Governor were not true.
Further evidence adduced and presented before the committee on the DG’s utterances that funds allocated towards completion of the Siaya Stadium had been re-allocated in the supplementary Budget 1 for the financial year 2022/2023 were not true.
The Elgeyo Marakwet senator William Kisang led committee said that the evidence adduced before the committee demonstrated that the DG attempted to interfere in the procurement process by instructing the Director of Supply Chain Management to change the tender categorization on the procurement for the supply and delivery of certified seeds and fertilizer.
“The committee finds that the allegation was proved and was therefore substantiated,” reads part of the report.
However, the committee dismissed allegations that Oduol bulldozed officers to renovate the office of the Deputy County Governor outside approved budgetary provisions.
“The committee finds that the allegation on misuse of public resources and bullying were not proved and was therefore not substantiated,” reads part of the Special Committee report.
It goes on: “The thrust of the jurisprudence in successive impeachment proceedings before the Senate, which the committee upholds, has been that, it is not every aberration, even if established, that will lead to the impeachment of a governor/deputy governor."
In the course of its investigation, the committee observed a number of issues which though outside the specific charges made against Oduol are crucial in the promotion of the objects and principles of devolution.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Committee to investigate the procurement of the Deputy Governor’s chair at a cost of Ksh1.12 million and appropriate action be taken against any person found culpable.
In addition, the committee has recommended that the Office of Auditor-General to undertake a special audit of the Siaya County Procurement processes to establish whether there was value for money and report to the Senate within 90 days of the tabling of the report.
“Proper induction should be undertaken for State and Public Officers serving in County governments on governance systems, policies and procedures of running an effective government,” the committee recommends.
The report further recommends: “Pursuant to section 39 of the County Governments Act, County Executive Committee members should be held individually and collectively accountable to the Governor in the exercise of their powers and performance of their duties and responsibilities.”
According to the committee, Counties should utilize internal resolution mechanisms and complaints by state and public officers in the County government on the management of County affairs should be processed through the duly established channels.