Siaya Deputy Governor (DG) William Oduol has opened up about his ongoing rift with his boss Governor James Orengo.
Speaking on the Citizen TV’s Day Break show on Friday, Oduol noted that he does not hold any animosity towards Orengo further stating that the differences between himself and the Siaya Governor are purely ideological.
“The difference I have with Orengo is not personal; it is ideological. We had a unity of purpose while campaigning and during our first months in office. So when we started, we started well and along the way things happened,” said Oduol.
Oduol added that the point of divergence between himself and Orengo came when he noticed abnormal withdrawals from Siaya County’s imprest kitty at the end of November 2022.
“Owing to my background in finance, I would periodically view the finances of the county. Towards the tail end of November, I started noticing huge and abnormal withdrawals from the imprest account,” he said.
Perplexed by the abnormal activity, Oduol summoned Siaya County’s finance officers to substantiate the irregular withdrawals only for them to play dumb initially.
He however threatened to report the matter to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and that’s when the finance officers allegedly came clean.
“They confessed that they had been withdrawing and taking (the cash) to the office of the governor for county operations,” said Oduol.
The Siaya DG then questioned Orengo about the withdrawals but the Siaya Governor allegedly shrugged off his inquiries.
“I asked the Governor and he said that he was not the one sanctioning the withdrawals,” said Oduol.
Owing to the fact that he confronted Orengo, Oduol says he reckoned that the irregular withdrawals would stop so he left the matter at that. The transactions however continued, according to Oduol.
“In November, Ksh.46 million was withdrawn from the imprest account, Ksh.41 million in December and over Ksh.20 million in January 2023. I have bank statements and requisitions to support these claims,” Oduol told show host Trevor Ombija.
“In three months alone, over Ksh.100 million was withdrawn from the imprest account.”
When he tabled his findings before the Siaya County Assembly, the county officials allegedly said that he failed to substantiate his claims.
“They deliberately ignored my findings and focused on legality. They said that the Public Finance Management (PMF) Act says it is okay for counties to open imprest accounts so there was nothing abnormal about that. That was not my fundamental question; what I was trying to raise was the abnormal huge withdrawals,” he said.
According to Oduol it is easier for county officials to siphon funds from the imprest accounts since it does not leave any audit trails.
“Imprest has a very limited audit trail because when you transfer cash from the account, you just need to sign checks to make the withdrawals. The Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) passes through the controller of budget so you are going to be asked a lot of questions,” said Oduol.
ODM’s Secretary for Political Affairs Opiyo Wandayi has since asked Oduol to resign from his position due to the discordance between himself and Orengo which culminated in a violent disruption of a recent funeral the duo attended.
In the May 13 incident, mourners were forced to flee the burial of the late Siaya County Public Service Board chair, Elijah Achoch, amid tear gas and shooting by police after youth allied to Orengo interrupted Oduol while addressing the mourners.
The rival groups tore into each other and the presiding bishop had to cut short the programme and lock out all the leaders.
A petition has also been filed against Orengo for allegedly sidelining Oduol.
In the petition filed by Peter Agoro, Erick Onyango and Elizabeth Akinyi, the trio claimed that the deputy governor has been denied the basic needs to live with dignity as a human being and to meet his day-to-day needs.
They want the court to compel Orengo to reinstate all privileges and responsibilities to enable Oduol serve the people of Siaya.
William Oduol – Deputy Governor, Siaya: The disputes between me and Governor Orengo is not personal but rather, ideological. In the first three months, we ran the county very well but in November I started noticing huge and abnormal withdrawals from the imprest account…in 3… pic.twitter.com/ycXxHVQFt3
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) May 26, 2023
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