Panic at Nyamira county offices as EACC officers arrest six

There was panic at the Nyamira County government offices Friday after Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission detectives arrested six employees in Kisii.

The commission’s spokesman Yassin Amaro confirmed the arrests to the Nation on phone, saying investigations were ongoing.

Among officers arrested are former and current members of the County Public Service Board as well as some senior officers in the Gender department. Officers in the Human Resources department were also grilled in a day-long operation at the county headquarters.

The suspects will be charged with abuse of office and ‘unprocedural’ recruitment at the Gender department.

Sources indicate that some of the suspects will be charged with forgery of signatures to sanction the recruitment.

“The matter at hand is the recruitment of 63 people to the Gender department. The board had advertised 21 but sneaked in the extra,” said a source at the county government.

The county government of Nyamira has in the past seven years of devolution been dogged with controversy and endless court cases over irregular recruitment.

Last year, the Nyamira County Assembly attempted to impeach then County Public Service Management Executive Bernard Osumo.

The ward reps wanted to eject him from office on grounds of abuse of office.

Those in support of the embattled executive said that he was being targeted for initiating a payroll cleansing exercise which would have affected scores of county employees.

The former high school principal was first appointed to head the Youth, Gender and Sports docket in 2018.

Governor John Nyagarama later moved him to the County Public Service Management Executive position in a mini-reshuffle in February last year.

Mr Nyagarama then directed Mr Osumo and Deputy Governor Amos Nyaribo to chair a payroll audit committee.

A source at the county government revealed that some anomalies were detected in the payroll.

Issues that could bring down top officers after the EACC raid include irregular recruitment, improper promotions and retention of retired people.

“We were able to detect that 1,950 people were recruited in 2016. No formal advertisement was issued to the effect and it is technically impossible to do that within a year. We also detected several irregular promotions,” said the source.

“Also, there were people who are supposed to retire but they keep on serving. We don’t know why they haven’t retired from civil service. This is outright impunity that ought to be rebuked.”

A look at the leaked payroll further exposed cases of people who were recruited to the system before attaining 18 years, the formal employment age under Labour Laws.

By February last year, the official argued, the county government had recruited 600 more support staff, even though no records or documents could be obtained on advertisement and recruitment.

Ward reps also accused top officials of embezzling Sh24 million, money meant to pay six employees seconded from the national government for three years.

The six are said to have gone for three years without salaries.

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