Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and six former county officials who served during his tenure were arrested yesterday by anti-corruption detectives.
Dr Kidero was picked up from Muthaiga Golf Club by officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and taken to their headquarters at Integrity Centre near the city centre.
The former governor and the six officials are expected to appear in court today after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) recommended that charges relating to "corruption and related economic crimes" be brought against them.
Lilian Wanjiru Ndegwa, who served as county secretary during Kidero’s tenure, as well as Jimmy Mutuku Kiamba, who was the chief finance officer at the county, will also be charged.
Others were Maurice Ochieng' Okere, who was the acting head of county Treasury, Gregory Mwakanongo, who served as Finance and Economic Planning executive, Stephen Ogaga Osiro (former H/O County Treasury) and Luke Mugo Gatimu (acting chief officer finance).
DPP Noordin Haji wants former chief of staff John Wainaina’s relative, John Githua Njogu, who is a director of Lodwar Wholesalers/Ngurumani Traders Ltd, and Grace Njeri Githua, of the same firm, to face criminal charges.
Dr Kidero, who was taken by detectives to Integrity Centre at around 5pm, told journalists he did not know why he had been arrested.
“I don’t know why I am here. They told me to come,” he told reporters as officers pushed him through the office's revolving door. He was expected to spend the night in custody.
According to Mr Haji, the EACC had been investigating complaints involving Nairobi City County Government officials and their handling of public funds.
The inquiry led to charges being drawn up against the eight individuals and two firms. He did not disclose the amount involved or the nature of the alleged cash embezzlement.
The commission forwarded the investigations file and documentary exhibits to the DPP accompanied by a letter dated July 13, 2018, together with a report under Section 35 of the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act.
“The DPP has independently reviewed the file and material submitted to him... the DPP has accordingly directed the commission to proceed and have the named persons immediately arrested and arraigned in court to answer various charges of corruption and related economic crimes.”
EACC said in a statement that the commission had been conducting investigations into allegations of abuse of office, money laundering, bribery, conflict of interest and failure to protect public property by senior county government officials.
Kidero becomes the third county politician to be arrested. His comes after last month’s arrest of Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong over graft allegations and the recent prosecution of former Nyandarua governor Waithaka Mwangi.
Mr Ojaamong, alongside three county executives, spent two days at EACC cells after they were charged with offences relating to theft of Sh8 million. They were released on a Sh1 million bail each.
A fortnight ago, Mr Mwangi, the first governor of Nyandarua, was charged in a Nakuru anti-corruption court with willful failure to comply with the law relating to the procurement, contrary to Section 48 of the Economic Crimes Act, 2003.
The Council of Governors has protested the arrests and prosecution of governors, arguing that they enjoyed immunity under the law for decisions they took while in office.