County clerk, six others in trouble over books tender

Nairobi County Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele at a past function. He and six others have been recommended for prosecution for abuse of office. [File, Standard]
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has recommended the prosecution of Nairobi County Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele and six others for abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud.

In recommendations sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the DCI has recommended that they be charged for allegedly authorising payments of Sh997,926 for the procurement of books for the County Assembly Resource Centre, which were never delivered.

After going through the evidence, the investigators say no books were procured and delivered to the resource centre and there had been deliberate attempts to misrepresent the true facts in an effort to defraud the County Assembly.

Others to be charged are Adah Onyango, James Kaguma, Philomena Nzuki, Fredrick Macharia and businessman Raphael Mwinzi Maluki.

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They are accused of unduly influencing or exerting pressure on a member of an opening tender, evaluation and disposal committees to take particular action, which favoured or tended to favour a particular tenderer contrary to Section 176 (1)(d) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015.

The charges are derived from an investigation into allegations that Primara Ventures, owned by Maluki, purportedly supplied and delivered books for the resource centre on June 29, 2017 and was fraudulently paid Sh997,926.

Formal complaint

“Having gone through all the evidence adduced in this matter, it is clear that no books were procured and delivered at Nairobi City County Assembly for the resource centre,” the recommendation letter reads.

According to documents, County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi made a formal complaint to the DCI on June 11 over alleged payment of undelivered goods, double payments to suppliers, supply of goods and services at exaggerated prices and endless payments to contractors.

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The DCI then initiated investigations and it was established that on March 16, 2017, the assembly’s Public Relations Officer, Pauline Akuku, wrote to the Clerk Nairobi City County Assembly requesting for approval to initiate procurement process for the purchase of books for the Resource Centre. Ngwele immediately marked the memo to Senior Procurement Officer James Kaguma who then minuted it to Daisy Mueni Muema with instructions to prepare quotations with effect from March 21, 2017 and April 18, 2017 to Saruva Technologies, Bluefox Technologies, Chehaja Investments Limited and Primara Ventures.

On June 26, 2017, a memo from Kaguma to Ngwele admitted that although Primara Ventures had been awarded the tender, they could not be issued with a Sh 1.9 million Local Purchase Order because of inadequate funds.

Physical verification

However, the two went ahead and issued LPOs worth Sh997,926 in disregard of the County Assembly procurement department.

But later, a physical verification confirmed there were no such books in the library.

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Maluki has since denied knowledge of the original delivery and invoice attached to the original payment voucher in Primara Venture’s name and the appended stamp.

This is despite the fact that Sh946,309.15 was deposited into his Equity Bank account in July 2017.

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Directorate of Criminal InvestigationsDCIDPPJacob Ngwele