Is Treasury CS Using Public Projects to Buy Political Favours?

Is Treasury CS Using Public Projects to Buy Political Favours?

Omtatah sues Yatani over ‘skewed allocation of projects in backyard’

CS is being accused of influencing projects to be executed in his North Horr constituency backyard

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani at a past function. Activist Okiya Omtatah has sued him over alleged skewed allocation of Sh4.2 billion projects to his constituency.

Allegation > Activist says the official influenced awarding of Sh1 billion deal to proxy firm

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has been accused of influencing the allocation of Sh4.2 billion projects in his North Horr constituency, Marsabit County.

In a suit filed at the High Court, activist Okiya Omtatah details the multimillion-shilling projects being implemented through at least five State agencies, which he says promises to lift lid in intense lobbying and use of State resources for political gain.

Mr Omtatah says Mr Yatani, who is listed as first respondent, has not only influenced the projects to be implemented in North Horr but also influenced the allocation of Sh1 billion to his proxy firm.

Skewed resource allocation

“The ex-parte applicant is aggrieved that since he was appointed as Treasury CS, Mr Yatani has misused his government position to manipulate and skew the allocation of national resources channelled to the county in favour of his North Horr constituency,” reads the application filed in court.

Northern Water Works Development Agency, Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority, Kenya Urban Roads Authority and Kenya National Highways Authority are also listed as respondents.

The Treasury, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of East Africa and Regional Development and Ministry of Water are listed as interested parties.

Mr Yatani served as MP for North Horr from 2006 to 2007 following the death of Dr Bonaya Godana in a plane crash that also claimed the lives of three other lawmakers.

He was elected Marsabit governor in 2013 but lost in 2017 to Mohamud Ali.

The county politics is informed by clan arithmetic and resource allocation is key in influencing support.

The suit by Mr Omtatah singles out skewed resource allocation which the activist, claims is contrary to the principles of public the constitution.

He says Sh4 billion national resources allocated to Marsabit County in the 2019/20 financial year went to North Horr, with Saku constituency getting Sh800 million.

Moyale and Laisamis constituencies were left out.

He says even the Sh800 million given to Saku will be used to tamarc roads where Mr Yatani has a residence and that the area is occupied by his ethnic community.

“In what smacks of naked collusion with cronies to defeat the public interest in the competitive bidding for the projects, the Forole Al Dere Dam contract worth Sh250 million and another project implemented by Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura)in Saku have been awarded to Mibasa Ltd, which is owned by an ally of Mr Yatani.”

The activist claims that three projects planned for implementation in North Horr were listed under Isiolo County during advertisement to disguise the disproportionate allocation.

“The fact that some projects, have been disguised as being in Isiolo County when in reality they are in North Horr constituency in Marsabit, points to the fact that the 1st Respondent (Mr Yatani) is aware of his excesses and he is doing all that is possible to hide them,” says Mr Omtatah.

The three projects listed under Isiolo County yet it’s in Marsabit county are Kalacha Girls Secondary School borehole, North Horr TT institute borehole and Malalba Galchiro borehole.

Northern Water Works Development Authority, which are implementing the projects, never issued clarification on the same.

The projects being contested are Sh850 million under Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority, Sh 250 million under the National Water Works Development Agency, Sh2.1 billion under the Kenya National Highways Authority and Sh 800 million under Kura.

Rule of law

The agencies are alleged to avoid public participation and stakeholder consultation to hide their excesses.

The activist calls upon court to intervene and uphold the rule of law to ensure that national resources remitted to Marsabit County, where Mr Yatani has political interest, are strictly utilised in accordance with the Constitution and national legislation to benefit all communities in Marsabit.

“This court is enjoined to stand up to this lawlessness and cascading corruption by suspending and later quashing the impugned tenders,” reads one of the requests by Mr Omtatah.

Justice John Mativo in a ruling dated June 4, 2020 directed Mr Omtatah to serve the respondents with the suit papers.

The judge ruled: “Acknowledging the gravity of the issues raised in this case, I find that it would be in the interests of justice to expedite the determination of the case.”

The fact that some projects have been disguised as being in Isiolo when they are in North Horr constituency in Marsabit points to the fact that he is aware of his excesses.”

Okiya Omtatah