DPP Hajji orders probe over media debt

Director of public prosecution Noordin Haji addressing the media on the progress made on investigations at the EACC headquaters. ON 13/06/2018. [Photo: Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Government officials who have failed to honour advertising contracts with various media houses risk prosecution. Yesterday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji ordered Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to open an inquiry into failure by the Ministry of Information and Government Advertising Agency (GAA) to offset the bill.

Reacting to reports that the GAA owed various media houses Sh2.5 billion in accrued debt, the DPP demanded a probe update every 21 days.

"In light of the issues raised in the aforementioned editorial and in the public interest, you are hereby directed to cause speedy and thorough investigations into the issues raised therein," the letter copied to DCI George Kinoti read.

Mr Haji said he was concerned by a hard-hitting editorial questioning the Ministry of Information accounting officers and GAA for the chaotic manner in which they had procured services from the media but failed to honour the contracts.

“The investigations file should be forwarded to my office for perusal and appropriate directions after every 21 days until the final completion of investigations,” said the DPP.

According to the reports published by the Daily Nation, GAA paid Sh404 million in the past financial year, which is its entire allocation for media services to media houses.

The schedule shows Mediamax Network was paid Sh74 million while the Standard Group and Nation Media Group were paid Sh41 million and Sh33 million respectively.

Royal Media Services was paid Sh47 million while Star Publications received Sh21 million. In the list of payments are beneficiaries like Professional Marketing (Sh30 million), Sunday Publishers (Sh28 million) and Business Times (Sh18 million), whose debt could not be immediately established.

Also in the list are Government agencies such as Kenya Yearbook, which got Sh40 million, and KBC (Sh11 million) as well as several outlets that received sums ranging between Sh2 million and Sh9 million.