Taxpayers’ money: MCAs probe 'Sh2.4 million US trip' by Sonko's family

Mike Sonko and his wife Primrose Mbuvi.

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The Nairobi County Assembly has opened an investigation into claims that the county government paid foreign travel expenses for Governor Mike Sonko's close relatives.

Two committees will jointly probe allegations that Sh2.4 million was used to facilitate Sonko’s wife Primrose Mbuvi and daughter Saumu Agnes Mbuvi for a trip to New York in 2018.

Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi yesterday directed the Public Accounts and Finance and Budget select committees to investigate the matter.

This was after Kitusuru MCA Alvin Palapala requested for a statement from the two committees with regards to expenditure on the 62nd Commission on Status of Women 2018 conference held in New York between March 12 and 23, 2018.

Mr Palapala tabled evidence alleging that the county spent Sh800,000 on Saumu for flight tickets, hotel accommodation and per diem.

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The second-term MCA questioned why the county executive had spent public resources on people who were neither officials nor employees of the County Assembly.

In the documents tabled before the County Assembly and seen by The Standard, boarding passes indicated that Primerose and Saumu used Emirates Airlines first-class tickets from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on March 10, 2018, to Dubai Airport before connecting to New York's John F Kennedy International Airport.

It also showed that Saumu used the same airline for her return flight on March 17, 2018.

Mike Sonko and his daughter Saumu Mbuvi.

In separate documents, however, it emerged that the Ministry of Public Service had cleared the duo to travel for the women’s conference.

This was revealed through a letter by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and addressed to Public Service Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia, clearing Primerose and Saumu to be part of the delegation to New York.

In the letter dated March 7, 2018, Kinyua noted that there was no objection for them to travel.

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After the green light by Kinyua, a county official identified as Joyce Kinyanjui wrote to county secretary seeking authority for payment of Visa fees, US round tickets and full per diem for 15 days and cash for ground transport.

In her request, she indicated that one Janet Muthoni Gichuki and Saumu Mbuvi were to accompany Primrose for the trip to New York.

Interestingly, the country secretary only authorised payment of per diem for Ms Gichuki.

Speaker Beatrice Elachi has directed the joint committee to look into the allegations and file a report by next Wednesday.


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