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Anti-graft agency to probe Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga 'for flying family using public funds'

By Standard Reporter | Published Wed, December 14th 2016 at 08:12, Updated December 14th 2016 at 08:17 GMT +3
Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga who is being investigated by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission for alleged abuse of office. [Photo: file/Standard]

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga faces abuse of office charges for allegedly buying family members, politicians and relatives air tickets, the anti-corruption agency has confirmed.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) documents seen by The Standard show that several counties and public institutions including county assemblies are under investigation.

Culpable individuals are set to appear in court once the Director of Public Prosecutions gives the green light for their prosecution.

In the Rasanga case, the Siaya county government allegedly paid business class tickets for the governor and his wife, Rosalia, as well as a mix of economy class and first class tickets for his son and four daughters on several occasions.

Auditor General Edward Ouko in his latest report said Siaya County spent Sh141 million without following the law and entered into procurement deals through single sourcing for services like insurance and internet provision.

EACC Deputy Chief Executive Officer Michael Mubea confirmed that his officers were on the home stretch with investigations, and was looking forward to prosecute the culprits to prevent pilferage of public funds.

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"We are concluding investigations and once the file is ready it will be forwarded to Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko for directions," Mr Mubea said.

Two travel agents; Pel travels and Kisumu Link issued the tickets that are subject of audit queries.

Beneficiaries of the tickets include the governor's nieces, nephews, cousins and MCAs.

The governor's wife spent over Sh5 million on air tickets, with over Sh3 million spent on international travel. It was not immediately clear if Mrs Rasanga's visits were official.

Investigations further revealed Nominated MP Oburu Oginga's air travel bills of Sh885,000 were settled using public funds.

Dr Oburu is a key supporter of Rasanga's re-election bid, which has put him at loggerheads with Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo, former Permanent Secretary Carey Orege and Siaya Senator James Orengo.

Contacted, Rasanga said: "Government regulations do not bar me from travelling with my family."

"If my family travelled by air, it is their right but I want to make it clear that they never used public money. I also wish to deny categorically that I bought air tickets for my friends using county money. I challenge the EACC to name those friends," added the governor.

He said neither the county government nor himself has ever funded Oburu in any way.