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Speaker Muturi presents petition to remove Auditor-General Robert Ouko

Auditor-General Edward Ouko is facing a fresh attempt to remove him from office barely two weeks after he was cleared of corruption allegations by the public prosecutor.

The petition seeking his removal was filed Thursday in the National Assembly.

The petitioner, Mr Emmanuel Mwagambo Mwagonah, has accused the Auditor-General of wasting public funds by accumulating a Sh1 million phone bill on his iPad while he was abroad.

Mr Mwagonah claimed that Mr Ouko frequently travels out of the country for private reasons but the expenses are met through public funds.

He said that as a result of the many trips, Mr Ouko is forced to manage the office remotely, which results in high telephone and internet costs.

“In one trip abroad in 2014, the telephone charges for his iPad line were in excess of Sh1 million. The amount was not captured as telephone expenditure in the accounting records,” Mr Mwagonah said.

Mr Mwagonah further claimed that the auditor has five cars allocated to him, some of which are used by his wife and daughter.

“The Auditor-General has five vehicles attached to his office which are used by his close family members. One vehicle is allocated to his wife and another to his daughter.

“These vehicles include two Mercedes Benz, one Toyota LandCruiser VX, one Volkswagen Passat and one Nissan Patrol. All the above vehicles have private plates,” Mr Mwagonah said.

Other allegations include failing to submit reports to the President and Parliament at the end of financial years, giving an audit firm that was supposed to be auditing his office other work, and buying an office at a cost of Sh10 million in Mombasa, which was never used.

Further, Mr Ouko was once again accused of irregularly authorising the procurement of Audit Vault software at Sh100 million, when it should have cost Sh18 million.

The petition was presented to the House by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and handed over to the Finance, Trade and Planning Committee for consideration.

URGENT MATTER

Mr Muturi directed the committee chaired by Ainamoi MP Benjamin Langat to consider the matter within 14 days.

“I implore upon the committee to exhaustively examine each of the grounds and the particulars claimed by the petitioner as the process of removal of persons from office is quasi-judicial, requiring judicious attention and sobriety,” Mr Muturi said.

Once the report is tabled, the House would have 10 days within which to consider it.

“It must be borne in mind by this House that the independent Office of the Auditor-General is the principal advisor to this House.

“It is fair that the matter be given the seriousness and the sobriety that it deserves. I would not want the House to get into sideshows,” Mr Muturi added.

However, two MPs raised suspicion on the petition.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, who said Mr Ouko is his constituent, said: “I hope this is not an extension of the attempts that have been made out there to drag the Auditor-General out of office.”

Mr Wandayi said he thought the pursuit of Mr Ouko ended when Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko cleared him of the offences the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission wanted him charged with.

READ: Ouko in the clear of graft allegations

READ: Charge Ouko over Sh100m tender, says anti-graft agency

Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu said: “I am getting concerned that these petitions are being brought here to scare independent commissions.”

The petitioner claimed that in 2012, Mr Ouko presided over the award of a Sh25 million contract to partition offices at the Anniversary Towers head office, which was never done.

Mr Mwagonah alleged that the Auditor-General influenced irregular hiring of his close friend’s son at the Kenya National Audit Office.

“The commission was not involved in his recruitment. Up to date, he has not attained the key requirements to be a director as defined in the scheme of service,” added the petitioner.

He also alleged that Mr Ouko was behind a pattern of skewed employment at the Office of the Auditor-General that has resulted in the top management coming from one community.

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