Ongwae’s new headache over KSh135 million bursary money

Kisii County governor, James Ongwae, faces fresh graft concerns after it was confirmed that detectives were closing in on evidence that links the county boss to a KSh135 million disbursed for bursaries in 2017.

A source has told Kurunzi the money was signed off as bursary money but was never used for that purpose, much of it going into private pockets of individuals close to governor Ongwae.

Each of the 45 wards in the county had been allocated KSh3 million for disbursement and even a list of beneficiaries drawn but at the centre of the probe is how genuine the list was, some whistleblowers saying the money never reached the schools indicated on a spreadsheet seen by Kurunzi.

Information that Kurunzi cannot independently confirm suggest the trend may have been started in 2016 and repeated in 2018, meaning the total amount of money could as much as KSh405 million.

“They gave names of beneficiaries and their schools but if you follow up you find either the names don’t exist or the money was never sent to the school,” a source told Kurunzi.

Ongwae, serving his second and final term as governor, has been on the spotlight over how his government spends taxpayers’ money and has recorded statements at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission although nothing has come out.

Kurunzi understands the governor is facing immense pressure to explain county expenditure amid claims of massively graft at Kisii County under his watch.

The file is ready to be forwarded and arrests will be made once the DPP approve prosecution.

Kurunzi recently exposed an incident where the governor is accused of fraudulently taking 10 acres of land at Kineni scheme, the family now demanding for justice.

The family has sought help from the directorate of criminal investigations, who they want to probe the governor for using his office in the 1990s to forcibly acquire the land. They have already prepared court documents and presented a dossier to DCI.

“We have also prepared a petition to the director of public Prosecutions and currently we are hoping to secure an appointment this week to convince him (DPP) that the governor should be charged,” a member of the family told Kurunzi.

The bursary probe claims will pile pressure on the governor who has also faced questions on the renovation of Gusii Stadium, which allegedly was contracted to his brother.

Governor Ongwae has also been accused of nepotism’s in appointments to the county and even at some point had to deal with claims of employing his own father as an advisor in his office.

Efforts to get a comment from the governor on the issue of the land and the bursary ‘scam’ have proved futile as our calls went unanswered or a promise to call back was not kept.


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