How cartels colluded to steal IDP billions

An IDP camp in Nakuru. Fraudsters diverted billions of shillings meant for compensation of the displaced. [File, Standard]

Police have opened an investigation into suspected fraud involving billions of shillings meant for resettling displaced people.

Former officials of the National Coordination Consultative Committee on Internally Displaced Persons (NCCC) have been accused of diverting compensation funds to private accounts.

In total, 18 suspects are being sought for questioning by officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in connection with suspected theft of the cash meant to compensate those evicted from forests and displaced by post-election violence (PEV). 

Tampered list 

One former top official is suspected of tampering with lists of names of internally displaced persons (IDPs) while overseeing the vetting of victims in Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Kericho, Kisii, Nakuru, Kiambu and Nyandarua counties.

The other individuals are said to have been used to fraudulently collect compensation money in the seven counties.

"The (name withheld) tampered with the 2007/2008 PEVs victims’ list and further manipulated the forest eviction lists while overseeing the vetting of the IDPs at the NCCC ahead of compensation. Later, with the help of 17 known accomplices, the official used fake lists to divert IDP compensation funds for private use,” said Nandi County Criminal Investigations Officer Sammy Mukeku.

Also wanted for questioning is an official of a lobby group who investigators believe is in possession of crucial IDP documents that disappeared from the NCCC offices t Posta Plaza and which were used to conduct the alleged fraudulent activities.

The fraud is said to have involved a group of people who used fake lists to claim money meant for genuine IDPs in the affected counties.

The office of the DCI has claimed that data on the IDPs' register was revised by suspects in the NCCC, creating loopholes for illegitimate members to be compensated.

In 2017, the Devolution ministry, through then Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, reported that the Government had spent over Sh17.5 billion on the IDP compensation.

According to IDP data from the Kenya Human Rights Commission, at least 660,000 people were displaced during the 2007/2008 post-election violence.

The DCI report indicates that the former official and accomplices had help from local administrators and several heads of IDP groupings to commit the fraud. Also involved were a number of financial institutions.

Fake promises

The former official is said to have opened an office for the illegal registration of new IDPs with fake promises of more compensation.

“The suspect has an office in Juja, where illegal registration of more IDPs is being conducted at charges ranging from Sh3,000 to Sh25,000,” states the police report.

The detectives have been looking for the former official from her homes in Nandi County and are said to be monitoring her other homes in Nyandarua County.

The current NCCC chairman, Adan Wachu, who spoke to The Standard on the phone, said his committee was not involved in the suspected fraud, adding that it had taken all the IDPs through thorough vetting.

“The lists of IDPs went through vetting with help from public administrators and chairmen of IDP networks,” said Mr Wachu.