On Social media, the Makueni Governor Prof. Kivutha Kibwana has been a darling of Kenyans. Many Netizens and probably other people not on social media, have celebrated the governor as a performer who has transformed the lives of his people of Makueni.
At some point in the course of last year and even this year during the Turkana Cultural Festival ‘Tonbong’u lore’, calls for the governor to become president were loud enough.
The professor of law, is now caught between a rock and a damning place.
Is this the end of his good name in county management?
At the beginning of the year, Makueni County was named with Nyandarua as the best in terms of management.
Allegations of corruption
Allegations have emerged placing governor Kibwana’s administration on the spot.
A dossier tabled in a Senate oversight committee by Narok Senator Ledama Olekina has questioned the execution of projects worth Sh1.4 billion.
The dossier, tabled in the Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee, outlines 12 white elephant projects where public funds could have been lost through substandard work and suspected conflict of interest.
Olekina tabled the report in Kitui where the oversight committee had convened to grill the governor over the 2017-18 financial year transactions. The governor did not turn up for meeting.
Olekina said a Makueni resident had petitioned the committee through him to investigate the alleged loss of funds.
The committee forwarded the dossier to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission for investigations.
“I am completely perplexed because I thought that for one we would be able to go through a county that appears to be clean. I am afraid that there is more than meets the eye in Makueni county,” Olekina said.
Kibwana, in a quick rejoinder, rubbished the graft claims, terming the document unsubstantiated and fictitious.
In a Facebook post, the county boss faulted committee chairman Moses Kajwang for admitting the tabling of a document whose authenticity was not verified.
“For the chair of PAC [Public Accounts Committee] to allow tabling of an unauthenticated document full of unsubstantiated and fictitious allegations and that has no author is to sacrifice the objectivity and sincerity of the respectable committee,” he said.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr said, “I had praised the county of Makueni of having unqualified opinion. Unknown to me, this appears to be a doctored report. I would rather lose a few votes but we will get to the bottom of this.”
In the dosser, the petitioner listed the Sh1 billion Kalamba Fruit plant which was initiated in 2013. Olekina said the project is a white elephant that has no value and has never benefited the people of Makueni.
“It has never produced anything for the market as it publicly purported to be. It is currently producing mineral water for an unknown water company. No revenue has ever been declared from the plant and not accessible for media and public scrutiny,” it reads.
The Sh220 million Thwake Bridge, Sh40 million Water Drilling Rig, Sh4 million Shina Foundation, Sh24 million Chullu Valley Water Project and Sh26 million Ngwitha Water Project in Kikumbulyu South and Northwards in Kibwezi are some of the projects named.
Ledama said the Thwake Bridge was constructed by one company which had allegedly been undertaking all major projects in the county.
Other projects are Sh26 million Masongaleni Water Project, Kathasyo Dispensary in Nguu-Musumba ward and Wote Town Water Project.