Brand Kenya board accuses sacked CEO of embezzling millions of shillings

Ex- Brand Kenya board CEO Mary Luseka. [Maarufu Mohamed/Standard]

Fresh revelations have emerged of how the sacked Brand Kenya Board chief executive officer embezzled millions of shillings through inflated tenders.

In one instance, the board claims that the sacked CEO Mary Luseka inflated a contract that would have cost Sh4 million to over Sh83 million and awarded it to a company that did not even have the technical staff or equipment to execute the contract.

The details are contained in an affidavit sworn by the board’s director of finance Geoffrey Shimanyula in response to Ms Luseka’s suit challenging her sacking last month.

It has also emerged that Ms Luseka was not qualified to head the state corporations tasked with marketing the country as she lied about her academic qualifications when she was appointed as the board’s CEO in 2016.

Mr Shimanyula stated that Ms Luseka abused her office by formulating tenders in a skewed manner and awarded a tender of Sh10 million to Media Edge Interactive Limited for procurement of services when the lowest cost was estimated to be Sh4 million.

“Even after irregularly awarding the tender for Sh10.4 million, she miraculously went ahead to vary that award and increase it to Sh83.5 million. She then rushed to make advance payments to the company while aware that they had no technical staff to do the job,” said Shimanyula.

He added that Ms Luseka also irregularly approved amother Sh3 million as charges for staff production and Sh1.6 million for equipments which had not been mentioned in any of the tenders she awarded.

He swore that the board is now at risk of losing Sh500 million which was to be allocated by the government to support the Kenya Achievement Campaign after the sacked CEO misused another similar amount allocated in the 2016/17 budget.

“Her allegation that it is the board that misused the money is a red herring intended to mislead the court towards a conclusion that the board interfered with procurement issues when she was the one solely responsible as the accounting officer,” said Shimanyula.

Ms Luseka was fired by the corporation’s board of directors on May 16 citing abuse of office, irregular use of public funds, incompetence and high handedness in handling staff leading to massive resignation.

She however filed a suit at the Employment and Labour Relations Court claiming that her contract was unfairly terminated and wants to be reinstated.

But Shimanyula swore that Luseka was not qualified in the first place to hold the position, bringing to question how a person with less education qualification ended up heading one of the organisations whose role is to market and improve the country’s image locally and internationally.

“She represented to the board that she had a Masters Degree in Business Administration at the time she was appointed in October 2016 but it has now emerged that she had no such qualifications and did not meet the minimum qualifications for the job,” said Shimanyula.

He claimed that as soon as Luseka assumed office, she made work difficult for other employees and frustrated their efforts to improve the country’s image leading to massive resignations from all departments.

Shimanyula stated that the board of directors had on many occasions summoned the CEO to explain the accusations which she promised to change but the situation worsened leading to termination of her contract.

The case will be heard on July 4.