The High Court has frozen accounts of four employees of a State agency over suspected theft of Sh74 million.
Lady Justice Hedwig Ong’udi stopped Felix Ongaga, Daniel Ouma, Peter Mwangi and Anthony Mwangi, employees of Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA), from operating their accounts until a suit filed by the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) is heard and determined.
“An order is issued prohibiting the respondents from transacting, transferring or in any way dealing with the funds held in their accounts at Standard Chartered Bank, Co-Operative Bank, Family Bank and Equity Bank, pending determination of the suit,” Ms Ong’udi said.
In its application, ARA claimed it received information from ICTA’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Kariuki showing that Sh74,281,498 might have been stolen. ARA said it later established that the four officials were involved.
Through lawyer Esther Muchiri, ARA said it established that between January and July last year, Mr Ongaga and Mr Ouma illegally authorised payments of Sh155 million from ICTA account and transferred to Peter and Anthony’s accounts.
ARA said another Sh6.5 million was illegally withdrawn from ICTA account and transferred to Ongaga and Ouma’s accounts.
“Investigations revealed a clear case of fraud, theft and money laundering of public funds with the intent of concealing and disguising the source of the funds. We believe the theft from ICTA accounts started in 2016 when the CEO noticed some suspicious transactions,” said Ms Muchiri.
According to the investigators, Ongaga and Ouma, who served as director of corporate services and finance manager respectively, had authority to approve payments of up to Sh500,000 and used their positions to fleece public funds out of the State corporation.