The Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja has forthwith gagged County Executive Committee Members (CECs) Chief Officers and sectoral Directors from speaking to the media without his express authorisation, The Informer Media Group has established.
Through an internal memo in our possession REF: NCC/CS/PAA/1147 dated December 19, 2023, Sakaja directed all officers under the executive wing of his administration to cease honouring media interviews without his permission.
According to insiders within the governor’s office, Sakaja is said to have “increasingly grown uncomfortable with revelations about his administration and thus he is feeling exposed.” Our source intimated.
With only slightly over a year in office, the nascent Sakaja’s tenure has been marred by mega financial scams ranging from latest revelations of shadowy figures controlling the Nairobi revenue collection systems to questionable expenditures queried by Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Controller of Budget (CoB) Margaret Nyakang’o and the Auditor General Nancy Gathungu’s office.
“This is to direct that all officers invited for media interviews to seek authorization from H.E the Governor before honoring the media interviews. We take cognizance of the fact that some officers are usually invited in their individual professional capacities and this is to request that while seeking the said authorization, you state that you have been individually invited to the interview due to your professional expertise.” The memo written by acting Nairobi County Secretary Patrick Analo reads in part.
Analo has been serving in an acting capacity since July this year and thus his continued mandate to serve in similar capacity will be null and void after lapsing of six months which ends in mid-January next year.
Analo replaced his predecessor Jairus Musumba.
According to the memo, the aforementioned officers are supposed to seek authorization even when going for media interviews in the professional capacities and not for their services at the county.
Speaking to The Informer Media Group on phone, Analo defended the move saying it is not aimed at gagging the officers from addressing the public through the media.
“The county has over 15,000 staff and we have found it better to do this and avoid contradictions. Seeking clearance from the governor simply means they are informing him about the issue to be addressed.” Analo claimed.
According to Analo, some staff are still new and are learning some stuffs about the county.
The CS added that they are also targeting the vernacular media houses which he said are causing confusion.
“If the process is not streamlined, it will cause confusion. You may find a CEC saying something different from the chief officer and the directors.” He added.
This raises questions on the various revelations of what has been revealed during the ongoing investigations by the County Assembly Ad hoc committee revenue collection.
In August this year, Sakaja sacked former Nairobi County Attorney Lydia Kwamboka by Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja through acting County Secretary Patrick Analo barely two months after Nyakang’o raised queries over Sh1.4billion legal fees payments flagged by the office of the CoB.
Further, the office of the Director of Criminal Investigations Mohamed Amin’s office is probing money laundering and fraud at the Nairobi county government and nine other private companies.
However, in his scorecard, Sakaja cites environmental clean-up, health care, road rehabilitation,
The DCI, Auditor General and CoB separately cited cases of lack of financial prudence at City Hall.
In June this year, Nyakang’o declined to approve Sh1.5billion expenditure requisitions they made to pay legal fees and development expenditure made without providing proper supportive documents.
Further, City Hall honchos made an additional clearance request of Sh379million categorised as development expenditure of building and construction supplies claimed to be ‘air supply’.
“The schedule of 19 firms to be paid does not include the invoices’ dates; therefore, it is difficult to ascertain whether they are pending bills or related to works done and invoiced in the current financial year. Please, therefore, revise the schedule to include the date of the invoices and attached copies of the payment vouchers for the 19firms.” A correspondence by the CoB addressed to Sakaja through the Finance and Economic Planning County Executive Committee Member Charles Kerich reads in part.
Through a letter dated June 27, 2023, Ref:COB/NBI/001/171(11), Nyakang’o notes that the Nairobi county government did not provide the pending bills payment plan that would enable the matching of individual payees to the requisitions.
“Further, it is difficult to match the proposed payments with the pending bills report earlier presented to this office.” The CoB adds in part.
Sakaja’s administration made the twin requisitions vide letters referenced as Ref NRB/FIN/1/2824/2023 dated June 19, 2023 amounting to Sh562, 124,660 and Ref NRB/FIN/1/2825/2023 dated June 19, 2023 amounting to Sh509, 152, 645.
Nyakang’o instructed County Treasury to provide the basis for the legal fees, status of each court case including copies of judgement where applicable.
Also, the CoB’s office demanded a clear breakdown detailing the criteria used in the selection of the said payments, the recommended ‘first-in-first-out’ method used in identifying the bills and information on whether the proposed payment is a partial payment or a final payment to the legal firms.
She said she wrote a memo dated August 2, 2023, to the Chief Officer of the finance department asking for clarification on payment criteria.
“We would like to understand the criteria used by your office in determining matters to be paid despite the sector having a budget to settle the small matters and what happened to the allocated budget.” A letter Kwamboka tabled before the committee reads in part.