EACC probing 227 ward reps as M-Pesa and calls targeted

Senators follow proceedings during the fourth Legislative Summit in Kisumu. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Some 227 Members of County Assemblies are being investigated by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The MCAs, some of whom have already been charged in court, are accused of abuse of office, fighting in the assemblies and falsification of documents.

And the Assets Recovery Agency is also targeting unexplained wealth as they seek orders to freeze accounts and recover assets of county governments officials -making suspicious transactions and investments.

Dubious deals

The MCAs and county employees involved in dubious financial deals, were cautioned they can’t erase electronic footprints such as M-Pesa and bank transactions that can be traced even seven years later.

SEE ALSO :Waititu grilled again over graft claims

Director of Preventive Services at EACC Vincent Okongo yesterday revealed that Sh6.5 billion linked to corruption had been recovered from the county governments, and averted loss of Sh21.2 billion through disruption of corruption networks.

Speaking during the ongoing fourth Legislative Summit in Kisumu, Okongo stated that they have had 111 corruption-related convictions in the counties and the figure might go up as it’s updated on a daily basis.

He dismissed assertions by County Assemblies Forums (CAF) Chairman and Kajiado Speaker Johnstone Osoi that no MCA or assemblies staff were under investigations by EACC or Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

“It is not true that MCAs are not under investigations. We have 227 MCAs under probe. Some are already in court,” he disclosed.

He said MCAs were being probed over conflict of interest, as a number have done business with the executive.

SEE ALSO :15 Meru MCAs summoned by EACC

“Some MCAs don’t attend committee sittings but colleagues sign the attendance list on their behalf. Some records of the attendance list show one MCA attending two meetingS at the same time and others sign the list after the meeting has been concluded,” said Okongo.

He said EACC was also probing 20 former and current governors over graft allegations and abuse of office.

Already governors Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu) and his Busia counterpart Sospeter Ojaamong are facing graft charges in court.

The two agencies, under the umbrella of the Multi-Agency Team (MAT) formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to coordinate the fight on corruption, are now using telephone calls and M-Pesa transactions to crack complex investigations.

Session moderator Senator Ledama ole Kina sought to know from Assets Recovery Agency Director Muthoni Kimani how they are dealing with MCAs becoming rich overnight.

SEE ALSO :Waititu anticipatory bail order earns magistrate a suspension

“How do you deal with glaring graft where someone who earned Sh5 million annually in a previous job becomes rich overnight and can now purchase a brand new vehicle in cash?” asked Kina.

Oversight role

Ms Kimani warned MCAs and county government officials that time was running out for the corrupt. 

“Unfortunately, proceeds of crime cases have not done well in the past as those accused continue to enjoy. We are dealing with lifestyle, financial data, tax remittance and telephone calls to establish our case,” she said.

An MCA from Vihiga, Vincent Atsiaya, protested the move to check calls and M-Pesa transactions, saying it would interfere with their oversight role.

But Kimani told him there was no cause for alarm if the calls were genuine and challenged him to engage the assembly on the matter instead of individual initiatives.

SEE ALSO :EACC probes mass failure of exams at Kenya School of Law

Kipruto Kimosop, an MCA from Baringo, accused the courts of protecting rogue governors.

“It is becoming difficult to send governors home. The Judiciary is shielding those involved in graft,” said Mr Kimosop.

High Court presiding judge Justice Lydia Achode said the Court of Appeal was there for any aggrieved party.

We are undertaking a survey to help us improve our content for you. This will only take 1 minute of your time, please give us your feedback by clicking HERE. All responses will be confidential.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption CommissionDirectorate of Criminal Investigations