Corruption claims against Kenya’s big shots laid bare with 54 days in probe countdown

President Uhuru Kenyatta makes his State of the Nation address last week

NAIROBI: The scramble by politicians and State officers listed in a damning report on graft to clear their names began in earnest Tuesday as the extent of the serious corruption allegations facing them were laid bare.

Top law firms were already reviewing their diaries in anticipation of a flood of new VIP clients stunned by graft claims that could spell the end of their careers in 54 days.

It is the biggest ever anti-graft crackdown by a government in East Africa that targets five Cabinet secretaries and a host of elected leaders and public officials.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), which authored the report, now faces a race against time to finalise its investigations and charge those implicated in court under the The Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.

Allegations of receiving kickbacks, bribery and procurement improprieties running into billions of shillings are among the claims against 175 officers listed in the EACC report that President Kenyatta handed to Parliament last Thursday, and which was made public by Parliament Tuesday.

And while almost all Cabinet Secretaries who have been forced out of office to facilitate their investigations alleged that they were not aware of the allegations against them, the anti-graft agency has listed very specific issues for which they are being probed.

The corruption allegations that have dogged the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Tassia II project have directly implicated Labour Cabinet Secretary Kambi Kazungu who is accused of breaking procurement laws.

“Kambi has come out strongly in support of NSSF Tassia 11 project, despite indications that the Board of Trustees did not approve the project’s revised cost estimate of Sh5.053 billion from Sh3.304 billion as required by procurement laws and that the alleged approval by way of email circulation was improper and irregular,” states the EACC dossier.

Kambi had said two weeks ago that he should face a firing squad if found guilty of corruption and that the shooters should use shotguns and not rifles to ensure they don’t miss.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu is alleged to have plotted to defraud the Government Sh110 million in a deal in which the State was to purchase private land at the Coast.

EACC alleges Ngilu would have pocketed Sh65 million had the Government’s purchase of the contentious Waitiki Farm in Likoni, Mombasa, at an inflated price, gone through.

Ngilu’s predecessor at the ministry, Siaya Senator James Orengo, is also named in a multi-million scandal under investigation, with the legislator alleged to have received a Sh5 million bribe in a case where public land in Westlands was irregularly sold by a private developer at a cost of Sh320 million, with Sh80 million allegedly paid to former Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa.


Transport CS Michael Kamau is named in a scandal that saw a design for the Kamukuywa-Kaptama-Kapsokwony-Kimilili road discarded and a contract awarded for a new design, leading to “massive embezzlement of funds”.

Kamau faces a separate allegation of irregular awarding of a contract at the port of Mombasa to a Chinese company.

Kamau’s PS Nduva Muli is accused of alleged irregularities in the award of the Sh320 billion tender for construction of the Standard Gauge Railway. In the Energy ministry, Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir is accused of “perpetrating corruption” in the award of tenders.

The report cites an attempt to influence award of a Kenya Pipeline Company tender costing $500 million to SINOPEC instead of ZAKHEM “which was meant to corruptly yield $15 million (approximately Sh 1.35 billions) which was to be shared between Davis Chirchir and Senator Mike Mbuvi.”

Agriculture CS Felix Koskei, who was the first to step down over the corruption allegations, is accused of secretly allocating sugar importation permits to businessmen without subjecting them to an open tendering process. Koskei is also accused of demanding bribes from State corporations under his Ministry.

The once powerful Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia is under investigation, together with Ambassador Chirau Ali Makwere and Investment Secretary Esther Koimett, for alleged improprieties by depriving former employees of Kenya Railways of their rights to purchase houses that had been set aside for their purchase under the tenant purchase scheme.

The Auditor General Edward Ouko also finds his name adversely mentioned with allegations that he defrauded the World Bank.

A total of 13 governors, who have stood their ground against calls to step aside, are accused of a myriad of improprieties in finance management in their respective counties, with the Chairman of the Council of Governors, Isaac Ruto (Bomet) leading the brigade of county bosses cited for probe.

Governor Ruto is under investigation over allegations that he accumulated immense wealth through corrupt means, including his acquisition of private 40 earthmovers/tippers/ graders, all estimated at Sh400 million, a chopper estimated at Sh300 million, a house in Ngong for Sh33 million and numerous petrol stations.