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Eight KMA senior officials held over Sh1b tender fraud

BUSINESS
By Standard Team | June 9th 2020
The Kenya Maritime Authority new headquarters building under construction in Mombasa's Mbaraki Road on June 9, 2020. [Kelvin Karani]

Eight Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) senior officers have been arrested over alleged Sh1.1 billion tender fraud.

Also arrested are entrepreneurs linked to the tender. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Hajji gave a green light for their prosecution saying he was satisfied with investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) into the tender to construct a building in Mbaraki, Mombasa County, during the 2016/2017 financial year.

The new KMA office along the Mbaraki Road has been under investigation since last year after allegations emerged that its cost had been inflated.

Those to be interrogated are former acting Director-General Cosmos Cherop, head of procurement Edwin Mong’are Momanyi and tender evaluation committee members.

The tender committee members are Joel Kiprono (chairman), Seth Oluoch, Bakari Omar, Juma Ahmed, Francis Okello and Jemimah Mukaluma, according to the DPP.

Also arrested are Robinson Mwangi from Bill Consults Ltd, Denis Ngeno from the State Department Public Works and Peter Kimani and Jared Biwott from Mengi Designs Ltd.

Four suspects, including Mr Cherop and Momanyi, were picked up in Lamu and were either airlifted or driven to Mombasa.

“We have arrested eight suspects, three based in Nairobi. Cherop and Momanyi have been arrested in Lamu and are being brought to Mombasa as we speak,” said Head of EACC Lower Coast region Mtembei Nyaga.

Suspects sought

According to EACC boss Twalib Mbarak, those being sought are KMA Kisumu branch manager Joel Kiprono, Bakari Mwakuyu (internal audit officer), Francis Okello (assistant ICT officer) and Peter Kinyanjui (projects coordinator, mechanical engineering services, Mengi Designs).

Hajji said he was satisfied EACC had established the eight altered tender documents submitted by bidders to inflate the cost of the building. “I have independently reviewed the investigation report and the inquiry file and I am satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to support various charges under the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003, against the officers,” said Haji.

According to summary of the allegations and proposed charges by the EACC, the suspects could face up to eight charges before a Mombasa court.

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