Why Nairobi Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele is on the run
Directorate of Criminal Investigation detectives are searching for Nairobi County Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele after Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji ordered his arrest.
Mr Haji also ordered the arrest of four other senior county officials over the irregular awarding of a tender.
On Friday, Mr Ngwele escaped a DCI dragnet at the assembly, where three of his colleagues were arrested.
The whereabouts of the clerk are not known and his phone has been off since then.
Five staff and a proprietor have been accused of defrauding the county through unscrupulous tendering.
Those apprehended on Friday are Deputy Clerk Adah Awuor Onyango, senior procurement officer James Kariuki Kaguma and senior finance and planning officer Fredrick Macharia Mwangi.
Others yet to be arrested are the owner of Primara Ventures (Mr Raphael Mwinzi Maluki) and principal accountant Philomena Kavinya Nzuki.
Mr Haji said investigations based on the County Assembly’s 2016/2017 financial year internal audit report revealed that Primara Ventures was improperly awarded a tender to supply books worth Sh997,926 to the Nairobi County Assembly Resource Center.
Mr Haji said the investigations showed that Primara Ventures was paid by the Assembly on June 29, 2017 yet no books were supplied.
“I have independently reviewed the file and I am satisfied that the persons named herein actively participated in the perpetration of the alleged criminal activities and should therefore be charged and prosecuted,” he said.
But for Mr Ngwele, his woes began in June this year after Speaker Beatrice Elachi called for investigation into multiple cases of alleged financial malpractice.
Ms Elachi wrote to the DCI headed by Mr George Kinoti that she discovered several instances of malpractice, including illegal procurement done by the Office of the Clerk.
But Mr Ngwele swatted the allegations claiming that Ms Elachi had a personal interest in a Sh150 million tender for the acquisition of the Speaker’s residence, claims Ms Elachi denied and challenged him to corroborate.
Mr Ngwele’s problems continued after Nairobi West member of county assembly Maurice Gari proposed a motion to revoke his appointment as clerk.
Mr Gari on June 14 alleged that Mr Ngwele’s name was not tabled before the assembly for approval, calling the appointment an “illegality” while citing the County Assembly Services Act, Article 18 (2), on process of approving the appointment of a clerk.
But Ms Elachi intervened and rescued him.
On June 17, the differences between the two senior officials almost escalated into a physical fight.
“Why are you destroying my career? Why do you want to ruin my life? Why should you try to embarrass me?” the Clerk shouted at Speaker Elachi.
To which Ms Elachi retorted: “Don’t raise your voice at me. We shall give you time to defend yourself. You should not raise your voice at me.”
The confrontation led to the suspension of the two by the County Assembly Service Board the same month to pave way for investigations.
The Board consists of the Speaker, the Clerk, majority and minority leaders and a member of the public.