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We are probing graft claims at Nema, CS says

By By STANLEY MWAHANGA | Dec 23rd 2013 | 2 min read
By By STANLEY MWAHANGA | December 23rd 2013


NAIROBI, KENYA: Water and Environment Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu has said the Government will intervene in the crisis at the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) “at the right time.”

Wakhungu described Nema as “a big headache which we have to fix,” without elaborating.

She said the Government is also investigating extortion claims against Nema’s senior officials in Nairobi and Mombasa.

On Monday last week, the agency’s Director in charge of Compliance and Enforcement Benjamin Langwen was sent packing  over alleged authorisation of a multi-million seafront apartment project in Nyali Mombasa.

Extortion claims

Yesterday, Wakhungu told pressmen in Kilifi that she has not met Nema’s Director General Geoffrey Wahungu over the squabbles in the body,  but added that Langwen’s dismissal was a “board decision.”

The agency has for the past one month  been battling an image crisis after its top officials were accused of of extortion.

Nema has also been accused of irregular cancellation of permits for private investments in Mombasa.

Last week, Peter Omatangi, the director of Mwawako Shipping Agencies said  Nema’s officials in Mombasa and Nairobi solicited a Sh2 million bribe from him to reinstate a licence the body cancelled in August.

Mwawako Shipping Agencies is one of the seven waste oil management firms, whose licences were cancelled by Wahungu for allegedly violating environmental regulations.

Last week, John Mwandary, a consultant for Coconut Cave Limited, told a court in Mombasa that Nema’s Director for Environment for Mombasa Wachira Bore asked for a Sh3 million bribe to “protect” his property at Tudor Creek.

Mwandary claimed Nema’s Director General was present when Bore allegedly solicited the Sh3 million bribe. Yesterday, Wakhungu said even though she had not yet engaged with Nema board, her ministry will investigate events at Nema and the corruption allegations before intervening.

“It is an issue we are aware of even though I have not yet met with the director general of Nema on the matter,” Prof Wakhungu said refering to the extotion claims and Prof Langwen’s sack.

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