EACC targets four governors for their property-buying sprees and huge cash deposits

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Twalib Abdallah Mbarak. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]

At least four governors may be arrested in a month’s time if the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji heeds to an anti-graft agency recommendations.

The revelations on graft in the counties happen as President Uhuru Kenyatta is today due to give the State of the Nation Address in Parliament from which the public expects drastic action.

The four governors are among more than 15 being investigated for corruption-related charges by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

EACC, according to insiders, will forward the four files to Mr Haji any time from now, with a governor from the South Rift likely to be the first to be arrested.

Looted money

The governor under probe is known to be sponsoring major political activities for one of his party leaders. He is also said to have acquired hotels in Naivasha.

A top official at EACC said the man is suspected to have stashed some of the cash in South African banks, a country he regularly visits.

Yesterday, EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak confirmed that the commission would pounce on the four governors soon.

“EACC has enhanced its investigations and asset tracing strategies while working with the DPP,” said Mr Mbarak.

“It is our expectation that public entities, especially county governments, will be accountable and will adhere to laid down regulations.”

The EACC boss told The Standard that his officers had begun the legal process of confiscating property acquired through looted money.

According to EACC, some of the four governors’ properties and accounts were registered in their family members’ names.

EACC is looking at instances where the county chiefs have acquired great wealth that is unexplained.

For example, a governor from the North Rift is said to have acquired a three-star hotel in Nairobi, estimated to cost about Sh600 million.

The governor has also invested heavily in tourist hotels in his county, and is known to be chartering planes to fly him around. 

Another governor from Mt Kenya region is said to have acquired a property worth millions of shillings in Nairobi, which is registered in his spouse’s name.

Investigators who have been trailing the county boss discovered that he had been depositing huge amounts of cash in his bank accounts, ranging from Sh2 million to Sh5 million regularly.

Wealthy governor

In one instance, the outspoken governor deposited about Sh10 million in a bank just a few minutes after a contractor with a tender from his county withdrew money from the same bank.

A fourth governor from western Kenya, described by detectives as one of the wealthiest county bosses, is building multi-million rental houses in a prime city location.

On Tuesday, EACC charged Samburu’s Moses Lenolkulal, his deputy and several executives over Sh84 million fraud.

Yesterday National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security chair Paul Koinange (Kiambaa) regretted that graft had been a national concern and in all sectors of the public service.

He disclosed that he would be sending a number of MPs to benchmark on the success of Malaysia in fighting graft. “The MPs will travel to Malaysia to study their system and submit a report,” said Koinange.