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A leaked audio tape is the latest sensation on the saga of the suspension, interdiction and now sacking of the Siaya County Assembly Acting Clerk, Isaac Felix Olwero.

On Tuesday last week Members of the County Assembly unanimously resolved to remove Isaac Felix Olwero as the Clerk of the House.

The House approved Olwero’s removal from office on grounds of alleged gross violation of the Constitution, gross misconduct and misbehaviour.

The House considered the report of the Select Committee probing the allegations that were levelled against the embattled clerk by the Siaya County Assembly Service Board and thereafter approved the motion, which had recommended the revocation of his appointment.

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The board claims that Olwero unlawfully, illegally, unprocedurally and without requisite authority withdrew approximately KES 2 million from the County Assembly Car Loan and Mortgage Fund Account and appropriated the said sum to himself for his benefit without knowledge or approval of the board.

While moving the motion for the adoption of the report, the Special committee chairperson Cynthia Akinyi said that the Clerk knowingly concealed the transaction on the withdrawal of money from the County Assembly Car Loan and Mortgage Fund account to his account from the County Assembly Financial Statements, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Controller of Budget and from the Auditor General for the FY 2015/2016 through to FY 2018/2019’.

The committee further noted that from Olwero’s pay slips, the money he allegedly withdrew and appropriated to himself for his benefit was not paid monthly from the county assembly payroll as was with the other loans administered from the fund account.

“The fact that the money which he transferred to his account was not paid through check off system as was the norm with other loans, lucidly shows that the money was not a loan as he claims,” said North Uyoma MCA, Booker Bonyo while contributing to the motion.

Olwero’s removal from office follows interdiction by the County Assembly Service Board last month.

In a letter dated April 12, 2024, the board resolved that the Clerk be interdicted for three months.

The interdiction came a few hours after the Magistrate Court in Siaya dismissed a case over his suspension in 2019.

The ruling was delivered by Senior Principal Magistrate Lester Simiyu on April 11, 2024, following a letter from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) citing insufficient evidence.

But during the meeting on April 12, 2024, the board reviewed Olwero’s letter dated April 6, 2021, addressed to the Controller of Budget and copied to their stakeholders, including the National Treasury, Central Bank of Kenya, Cooperative Bank of Kenya, and Kenya Commercial Bank -where Assembly accounts are domiciled.

The board noted that the contents of the letter allegedly communicated falsely that the Employment and Labour Court in its judgement on April 14, 2021, reinstated him as the Clerk of the Assembly.

Through the letter, the board also noted that Olwero falsely communicated that in the absence of the stay orders, any actions, transactions and communications by the acting Clerk, except where appropriately delegated by himself, were deemed unlawful, prejudicial, and would expose the assembly to high risks and undermine the smooth running of the House.

“The board further noted that the letterhead used to send the said communication was allegedly forged, and the reference number used was inconsistent with official numbering in the Assembly,” said the board’s vice chair in his letter.

The board noted that the nature and content of the Clerk’s communication vide the letter allegedly contained elements of misrepresentations and was written without the board’s express authority or that of the County Executive for Finance or any authorized officer.

“You are in effect expected to explain and justify in writing the content of your communication and circumstances under which you made the communication within 21 days from the date of this letter,” stated the board.

While on interdiction, Olwero will be paid half basic salary, full house allowance, and medical insurance.

During this period, he will also not appear within the precincts of the Assembly unless permitted by an authorized officer.

But the embattled Olwero, who confirmed his interdiction, termed the case a witch-hunt.

“The letter in itself is a testament to the abuse of power and defiance of the law as the court had already cleared me of any offence,” he claimed.

And that’s where it gets interesting. The Speaker says in the leaked tape that he has made up his mind that Olwero must go and will use political or administrative means at his disposal to ensure the said officer is sacked.

What is the interest of the Speaker in this position so many years after the incident occurred?

Could the corrupt misappropriation of the KES 2 million car loan facility in 2015 be the only driving force in this apparent vendetta? Why, until recently the Speaker was happy to append his signature on important documents including the Assembly Strategic Plan 2018-2022 alongside that of Olwero without realising that he was corrupt and inept!

What is it that the County Assembly of Siaya is not telling us nor the courts about Isaac Felix Olwero that now makes him persona non grata?

—Source: The Standard, additional reporting by Noel Anyumba Nyakwaka

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