Why suppliers want to sue Meru Governor Kiraitu
Companies that have provided work and services but are yet to be paid have threatened to sue Governor Kiraitu Murungi.
The Meru Contractors and Suppliers Association yesterday accused the governor and his administration of sidelining them because of their previous working relations with former Governor Peter Munya.
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Their ultimatum comes barely five days after the governor received a report on Sh1.5 billion in outstanding bills.
Kiraitu said the Pending Bills Scrutiny Committee, which he set up on January 10 to investigate debts inherited from the previous administration, had found that some of the outstanding payments were fraudulent.
The committee led by Riungu M’Ikieni recommends that the county government should only pay Sh200 million.
In a report, the verification committee indicated that contractors and county officials had conspired to defraud the county by inflating bills for various projects and equipment.
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The team, which took 120 days to compile the report, said it had pored over payment claims and toured project sites and in the process concluded that some of the projects were hugely over-priced.
Kiraitu adopted the report and issued a statement on May 5 stating that he would not stand by and watch as public officers colluded with unscrupulous contractors and suppliers to loot public resources.
But the association’s leaders dismissed the governor’s sentiments and invited the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate the allegations made by the scrutiny committee.
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“We had written an MoU to the governor which he never honoured to meet us to discuss the issues raised by the committee report. When he was the Meru senator, he had an oversight role to play over county procurement and he failed,” chairman Stephen Nturibi said.
“He cannot malign us for working with the government of his predecessor. Some of us have been rendered almost bankrupt because we approached financial institutions for money to complete the projects we were awarded by the county government and which we have not been paid for.”
He added that they had adhered to due process when applying for the county tenders, with their bids passing through all the relevant committees before being approved.
“The EACC should assist us to investigate how we are referred as fraudulent contractors when we followed all the laws on tendering. We did not set the prices for our services; that was done by the county evaluating committees. So we need our payments.”