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Drama as Barchok sweats buckets before senators – Weekly Citizen

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Former Bomet governor Isaac Ruto of Chama Cha Mashinani features prominently in the purchase of a desk for his use at a cost of Sh750,000.

Bomet county in 2017/18 financial year used Sh9 million for furniture in the governor’s office when Ruto was the governor.

Other purchases include Sh713,000 for a bookshelf, Sh57, 000 for flower vase, an executive chair at Sh293,000. Surprisingly, one company supplied all the above raising eyebrows of the motive behind.

County public accounts and investments committee of the senate want investigations into Sh78,000 and Sh60.85 million to equip the new wing constructed governor’s lounge and office block.

Former Bomet governor Isaac Ruto

Current governor Hillary Barchok while defending the county’s accounts for the 2017/18 financial year, accused the late governor Joyce Laboso and Ruto regime of being behind the questionable tenders.

According to the governor, the goods were bought before the current regime came into office. They were forced to make payments as the contractors had binding tender documents.

Former Auditor General Edward Ouko in 2017/18 financial year raised issues with the county procuring and expenditure process.

The county bought furniture from Panesar Ltd, a high-end furniture manufacturer, in 2016/17 financial year. The directors of ther firm after Ruto lost started dealing with late Laboso. They are currently in good books with Barchok.

It is for this reason that Barchok failed to explain to the senate committee headed by Moses Kajwang what he is doing to clear the mess after succeeding Laboso. Through out the grilling, Barchok was sweating profusely despite the weather being cold.

At one time, Barchok gestured in the air as he was challenged to shed some light on the controversial Sh939 million expenditure after being unable to provide adequate documents to justify the contract.

Senator Kajwang’

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Another headache was Sh233 million payments without payment vouchers. The money was used in suspicious way by acquiring goods and services. To swindle the county millions, those behind the scam did not classify the items bought thus allowing a blank cheque for the deal.

As a result, the county expenditure of the so-called ‘specialised materials almost tripled from Sh54.10 million the previous year to Sh186.97 million. Public participation budget on the other hand shot from Sh34 million to Sh145 million. The training of staff cost Sh65 million.

Senator Langat

It has also emerged that no original vouchers were given further complicating matters as Bomet senator Christopher Langat feared there might have been forgery and cooked books.

According to governor, documents relating to the expenditure were lost when fire gutted a section of the finance office at a time when the county executive was shifting to the new offices in June last year. It is suspected that the fire was started by those behind the missing millions out to conceal evidence.

For now, panic has gripped top county officials after the committee wrote to the Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission to probe the alleged misuse of Sh939 million.



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