Kiambu County: Kaa Sober expenditure exposes Baba Yao

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu Baba Yao has been on the headlines for alleged misappropriation of funds by budget allocation for functions of the national government.

The embattled governor has defended himself saying the shocking revelation that his county was spending money in the name of State House affairs, free education and South Sudan affairs; was a ploy by his detractors.

“Those vote heads do not exist and may have been inserted by people who want to fix me” has been his defence.

He has managed to convince Deputy President William Ruto to come to his defence.

“Baba Yao is the Governor of Kiambu. In Kiambu’s budget, there is nothing about retired presidents, South Sudan and even retirement of Heads of State,” DP Ruto said in Kiambu on Sunday in the presence of Baba Yao.

“Baba Yao should only be asked issues to do with Kiambu. The other issues of State House, South Sudan and even retired presidents are matters in Nairobi that involve us as the National Government.”

Some critics have wondered why the DP would come out to openly defend Baba Yao in the manner he did but Dr Ruto maybe right on this one. Baba Yao is not that naive as to spend public resources in that manner.

Indeed, documents circulating in social media suggest this might be a standard template because several other counties, including Nyeri, Kiktui and Kakamega, among others show similar documents.

But for Kiambu County, allegations of misappropriation could bear some truth.

Kurunzi, through its sources inside the county administration, has confirmed that indeed there is loss of funds from the county and that “Baba Yao is single-handedly” running the county and “everybody has to tow his line or be ejected”.

“Forget what you have been told about (Governor) Sonko in Nairobi, Kiambu is worse,” the source who is privy to the goings-on in Baba Yao’s office told Kurunzi.

The source says the main avenue for pilferage has been the Kaa Sober programme, an initiative launched soon after the 2017 elections. This, alongside procurement, remains the biggest scandal under the governor’s watch.

“Kaa sober was never budgeted for but it is a scheme the governor came up with to reward those who voted for him,” explained the source, saying the initial budget was KSh40,000 per day for 100 youth.

But, the source adds, it grew in leaps and bounds to a daily average expenditure of KSh2.7 million across the county.

To date, the programme has cost the taxpayer over KSh1 billion, majority of which has gone into personal pockets – the governor’s and his associates.

Shockingly, the money was being drawn from the county accounts in cash using different votes.

“The money could be drawn from, say, public health but the purported reason for withdrawal would be diverted so that they would pay the youth in cash.”

The money would be drawn in the name of paying casuals or allowances for officials but be used for Kaa Sober, which was never approved by the Controller of Budget.

Governor Baba Yao presided over the ‘Kaa Sober’ initiative graduation ceremony of 5,078 former alcoholics held at Ndumberi Grounds, Kiambu. PHOTO/COURTESY

The source says there is nowhere in the county books where Kaa Sober appears, which explains “why there would never be queries about the programme yet it was launched by the governor.

“What they tried to do was to introduce that (expenditure) through a supplementary budget in the assembly. MCAs had no choice but to approve it because tey wanted it in their wards so as to also get a share of the gravy train.”

Kurunzi understands that Baba Yao used his position to arm twist county officials, often removing those who “did not cooperate with Baba Yao.”

“A case in point is when he found former CEC finance Mr Kangethe uncooperative he sacked him and replaced him with someone friendly – a Mr Kigwa,” the source revealed.

“He is a former MP who was with Waititu in parliament when he was MP and then he brought in the current chief officer, who is his puppet.”

Finance Chief Officer Faith Njeri was last week arrested and KSh26 million found in her car. It was reported that she was taking the money to a British national who had sold a house to Baba Yao in Runda.

The governor is reported to have acquired several properties including buildings within the Nairobi Central Business District, since he became governor.

“Yes, he (Baba Yao) is a businessman but how come he has got these properties since he became governor and not before?

“Kenyans know his salary and even if you assume he has no expenditure the value of the buildings is not KSh12 million, which is the salary the governor earns per year.

“Even if you added allowances and came to a figure of Ksh2m per month, he will still not have bought all that he has over the last 18 months.”

There is no proper record of payments to the youth and how much has been spent. Our source says that Baba Yao has even threatened bank managers who questioned why the payment would not be made directly to the youths through their bank accounts “but who knows how much else is withdrawn in cash and spent in the name of Kaa Sober?”

“A local manager of one of the county’s bankers once questioned the huge withdrawals and was threatened by the governor who said he was going to deal with her through the bosses.

“The youths opened accounts and started receiving the money directly but the withdrawals have not stopped. That is how the county is losing money because it is accounted for in the name of approved expenditure but if you follow up you will find those projects or programmes are white elephants.”

Kiambu residents protested in Thika calling for Governor Baba Yao’s arrest, failure to which they would arrest him as citizens. PHOTO/COURTESY

Deputy Governor James Nyoro has also claimed county money was being misused especially the revenue collections from across the county including levies from quarries and slaughterhouses as well as parking fees.

“All this money collected daily totaling between Sh6 million to Sh10 million does not reach the county. The money is being misused instead of being spent to benefit Kiambu residents,” Nyoro said at a recent function.

During demonstrations in Thika town on Friday, protestors said that they are tired with Waititu’s administration saying that embezzlement and misappropriation of resources have been rampant.


Share Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By Same Author