The second batch of Kenya Pipeline Company employees accused of inflating the cost of hydrant valves was charged on Tuesday as the prosecution stepped up the fight to clean the state agency.
The sixteen individuals were accused of conspiring with two companies on the supply and maintenance of hydrant valves at a cost of Sh644mn which was way above the budgeted amount of Sh390 million.
Those charged were: Charles Kiprotich, Philip Kimelu, Bramwel Juma, Francis Githaiga, Samwel Odoyo, Nicholas Gitobu, Peter Gaitho, Jane Nakodony, Charles Nderitu, Charles Ouko, Fredrick Ogenga, Emilio Mwai, John Huba, Francis Omondi, Beryl Aluoch and Jim Yukes.
The two companies awarded the contract, Aero Dispenser Valves Ltd and Allied Inspection and Testing Ltd, were also accused of unlawfully acquiring public property through illegal means.
“Between October 2014 and July 2015 being employees of KPC, private persons and limited liability companies jointly conspired to defraud KPC USD6,441,700 (Sh644,170,000) for the supply of Cla Val Model Hydrant Pit Valves with under hydrant valves and two years’ maintenance spares,” read the charge sheet.
In the second count, Mr Ogega who is the KPC procurement officer was charged with abuse of office by conferring a benefit to Allied Inspection and Testing Ltd through awarding the contract which had not been approved by KPC.
The company and its two directors Francis Omondi and Beryl Aluoch faced additional charges of engaging in a fraudulent practice to syphon public funds from KPC and unlawfully acquiring public property.
They were also said to have failed to pay taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority from their businesses amounting to over Sh25 million.
“Between 2014 and 2016, being a limited liability company and the directors respectively jointly failed to pay taxes on the income earned from KPC for the tender to supply hydrant pit valves complete with under hydrant valves,” Said the prosecution.
They all denied the charges and were released on a cash bail of Sh2 million each by anti-corruption court chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti.
The charges came a day after former KPC Managing Director Joe Sang, Company Secretary Gloria Khafafa, Manager Supply Chain Vincent Cheruiyot, Manager Infrastructure Billy Aseka and Procurement Manager Nicholas Gitobu were charged with a Sh1.9 billion scandal at the corporation.
Sang, Khafafa, Cheruiyot, Aseka and Gitobu were accused of engaging in a project without prior planning between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 at KPC headquarters in Nairobi by approving the construction of the Kisumu Oil Jetty amounting to Sh1,963,065,422.
Sang faced additional charges of abuse of office and willful failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to the management of public funds.
The former MD was also accused of willfully failing to comply with section 68 of Public Finance Management by unlawfully authorising the payments.
Khafafa and Cheruiyot faced additional similar charges of using their positions at KPC to improperly confer a benefit to Southern Engineering Company Ltd by executing the contract in respect to the tender for the construction of Kisumu Oil Jetty at a cost that exceeded the approved budget.