Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives raided the Nairobi and upcountry residences of Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal in a Sh2 billion suspected fraud investigation.
The officers carried away several documents and electronics from his Karen home where they had arrived at about 5am yesterday. The governor has two houses in the same area.
The governor was in Nairobi at the time of the raids. He was taken for questioning and set free later.
At the same time, others were searching his offices in Samburu.
The commission’s CEO Twalib Mbarak said another team went to the homes and offices of chief officers, directors and contractors of the county.
The officials include Moses Etiene Lelesit, the governor’s personal assistant and the county speaker Solomon Lempere.
The team also raided the homes and offices of county executives and contractors awarded various contracts by the county.
“The searches are in furtherance of investigations that the commission has been carrying out which have revealed that the county has lost over Sh2 billion in the past four years,” said Mbarak.
He said their investigation had exposed gross financial misappropriation, conflict of interest and embezzlement of funds in an organised and systematic pattern involving county officials working in different departments.
“Preliminary investigations have revealed many cases of conflict of interest whereby county officials have registered companies which have been awarded contracts worth over Sh700 million. No works were done,” added Mbarak.
Mbarak said his investigators had revealed that most of the money was withdrawn in cash and shared out among various county officials.
In other cases, he added, contractors were irregularly awarded contracts worth over Sh1 billion for works partly or never done after which they paid kickbacks to top county officers.
Mbarak said the commission has evidence of millions of shillings in bribes paid to various county employees, by companies that were awarded contracts.
“Investigations further revealed the officers under investigation invested the embezzled funds in real estate,” he added.
Besides filing criminal charges upon completion of the investigation, the commission has now commenced a process of freezing the suspects’ assets in order to recover any public funds lost in the county.
EACC officials said they would send their investigation file to the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions with recommendations for action. We could not reach the second-term Jubilee governor for a comment.