Governor Wilber Ottichilo has perfected the art of launching ghost projects, where a select group of chief officers is milking the county coffers dry in a way that besieged Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru can only admire, it is claimed. Take for instance the department of agriculture that Pamela Busungu, a senior face among chief officers, has taken complete control of and is even signing for some of its tenders at the comfort of her bedroom. The department of agriculture lined up a total of 54 projects with a budget of Sh380 million, and they say 44 projects worth Sh219 million were completed and paid.
The county paid Magoya Agrotech and Produce Enterprises Sh23,800,000 to supply and deliver planting fertilizer and a further Sh21,080,000 for top dressing fertilizer, which was delivered to sub-counties from where farmers bought it. It further paid Western Seed Company Sh5,928,410 to supply and deliver certified maize seeds. However, Busungu contracted Navana Tours and Travel Limited to load and offload the fertilizers and maize seeds at a cost of Sh2,078,720, a company that was also paid Sh 5,600,000 to transport the same and a further Sh3 million to transport planting fertilizer. Sources at the county indicated Navana Tours is closely associated with Busungu, who has blessings from the top seat, and the proceeds from these illegal payments alone saw her buy a new Toyota Fielder car, and buy land in Kakamega.
The fertilizer and maize seeds would then be sold to 34,000 farmers at a cost of 500 per person, with the county raising Sh17,000,000, and consequently being unable to supply the same farmers with the implements this year. The department has listed as having partially completed Mukhalakhala slaughterhouse to 90pc, a slaughterhouse that former governor Moses Akaranga left while being operational. Mbogolo Valley Enterprises Limited has already been paid Sh4,586,402 for the completion of the Mukhalakhala slaughterhouse. Mwitoko Fish Farm is the main cash cow for the department, having gobbled about Sh37 million but its profits to the region are still at the planning level. Despite the farm having had electricity since when Ottichilo introduced it under the Economic Stimulus Programmes while still an MP, the department has also paid Sh1,366,726 to Pong Agencies Ltd for electrical installation works.
Navana Tours and Travel Ltd has also been paid Sh300,000 for fish feeds transportation, which was procured from Sigma Feeds Limited and paid for supply and delivery at Sh4,230,000. The department has also listed among its achievements as having distributed 20,000 coffee seedlings to farmers and 30,000 tea seedlings. This was purchased for Sh5,706,900 for supply and delivery of 20,000 avocado and tea seedlings by Rosanetta Limited and Sh1,900,000 paid to Emmima International Limited for coffee seedlings. However, on the ground, only 2000 coffee seedlings were given to farmers and less than 3000 tea seedlings given, which has been protested by Mudete Tea Factory that controls tea dealings in the county. The department procured a coffee pulping machine at a cost of Sh1.9 million, which on normal market rates, it goes at about Sh500,000, and has never pulped any coffee, two years down the line as there is no supply.
Construction of Serem Slaughter House by Watiti Construction Limited at a cost of Sh8,716,083 is also under sharp focus, with the department having also procured honey processing machines through Admido Agencies Ltd at Sh1,920,000 but has not seen farmers who benefited. The department of public service is also under sharp focus as it still owes Span Ventures Limited Sh75.8 million for construction of a high levelled-corruption data centre whose price has been overpriced five times over, having already paid them Sh19 million. The office of the governor is always under renovation, Westwood General Supplies Limited having been paid Sh1.5 million last year to do the same. The department of transport paid for supply and delivery of 10,000litres Fire Engine by Pewin Motors Limited at a cost of Sh46,078,584 and further supplied Rapid Response Vehicle at Sh15,721,375. The same contractor was awarded a further Sh11,519,646, for the firefighting engine delivery. Broadcore Construction Company was paid Sh6,434,737 for construction of mechanical workshop at Manyatta, which is incomplete and has never been used since 2018.