It has now emerged that the government might have lost hundreds of millions of shillings worth of gold chains worn by former mayors of the now defunct city and county councils.
Speaking on K24 TV, former Transition Authority (TA) Chairperson Kinuthia Wa Mwangi says a majority of the now-defunct local governments did not return the gold chains during the transition process to the current 47 counties.
TA was established to oversee the transition of local governments to counties following promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.
Its mandate included securing all assets from the former municipalities before handing them to county governments.
“I noted when we did the inventory of assets for each county the chains and gnaws (worn by mayors) were not part of it. It is not that it was taken, it was stolen. In a highly guarded institution, how was it stolen? It means somebody made money out of it” Wa Mwangi says.
Wa Mwangi says efforts to compel the former municipal councils to return the chains were fruitless.
“Town clerks did not hand over to us the mayors’ regalia when my term ended. They are valuable public assets not only in terms of monetary value but rich history on governance,” says Wamwangi.
Embu and Bungoma are the only municipalities that are reported to have surrendered the gold chains to TA.
Nairobi’s last Mayor and current MP for Makadara George Aladwa said he never wore the chains when he assumed office in August 2011 following the resignation of his predecessor Geoffrey Majiwa over corruption allegations.
Aladwa said he didn't get the gold chains whose value at the time was estimated to be around Sh180 million.
“When I was performing my duties, I didn’t have that chain I had the maze” Aladwa noted.
Wa Mwangi has called on the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji and The Director of Criminal Investigation George Kinoti to launch investigations into the disappearance of the chains, which were worn by Mayors as a symbol of authority.
“Those culpable should be arrested and charged. They are archival assets which generations will know how local governments worked many years to come,” he says.