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Nairobi Reps squander millions in retreats

Nairobi County reps are squandering millions of shillings in expensive and unnecessary retreats in Sh15,000-a-night Mombasa hotels.

They are usually at the Coast for not less than three days to compile reports of committee meetings that have now taken the place of Assembly proceedings.

There are no reasons why reports cannot be written in Nairobi.

Millions of shillings have been spent on these trips in the past two weeks, raising questions.

The last half of September saw at least five committees head to the Coast for stays in expensive hotels barely a week after county workers called off their strike without the implementation of their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The committees that have been at the coast are Legal Affairs and  Appointments chaired by Speaker Alex Ole Magelo, the House Business Committee, Culture and Social Services, and the soon-to-be powerful County Accounts Committee.

Details about the exact amount blown by the committees were sketchy with reps remaining tight-lipped about the trips.

Key assembly officials defended travel budgets as necessary for performance.

Budget committee  chairman Michael Ogada (Embakasi)  accused some people of scrutinising the budgets too much and wondered how they wanted reps to work.

“Money is allocated  to be spent. We should be judged at the end of our term,” said Mr Ogada.

A  committee normally has about 13 members, meaning flights alone cost Sh1.7 million in addition to about Sh3 million in accommodation.

Accommodation is at top hotels which and it goes for about Sh15,000 a night.

The Legal Affairs committee, for example, was at the Voyager Beach Resort where a room goes for Sh15,000 a night.

This is in addition to  Sh6,000  allowances per day per person.

The House Business Committee (HBC) chaired by the Speaker chose a more exclusive resort in Diani.

This year alone, such trips could cost  the county more than Sh100 million.