EACC flags 569 ghost fishermen angling for Sh1.7b KPA compensation

Fishing boats along Lamu Island's seafront in Lamu County on January 10, 2019. [File Standard]

The anti-graft agency has discovered over 500 people who would have irregularly benefitted from the Sh1.7 billion compensation for fishermen who lost their source of livelihood following the construction of Lamu port.

The fishermen are expected to ben

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) announced on Wednesday that their investigations had established 569 ghost fishermen, from the list of 4,734 people, presented to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) for compensation.

“The fake fishermen were to pocket a total of Sh137, 5354 irregularly,” according to EACC.

EACC also discovered that 433 genuine fishermen had been left out of the compensation plan in what it termed an elaborate scheme to shortchange them.

EACC’s head of communication Eric Ngumbi said the commission will apply to the Court of Appeal seeking validation of all the 4,164 fishermen even as it pushes for the payment of their compensation.

"Early this year, the commission stopped the compensation of fishermen in Lamu following allegations of fraud. We commenced investigations and we established that 569 people fell in the category of ghost fishermen. We also established that 433 genuine fishermen had been left out," Ngumbi said.

He said EACC worked with Beach Management Units (BMUs) and other stakeholders to flag out the ghost fishermen who were on the list prepared by KPA and Lamu County government.

"The fishermen will get compensated soon after we get validation of the genuine list by the court of appeal," he said.

KPA had been ordered, by the court, to compensate the fishermen more than Sh1.7 billion for loss of income following the construction of Lamu port at their traditional fishing ground.

Fishermen on their boat fishing in the Indian Ocean in Lamu County, on August 30, 2020. [File, Standard]

At the same time, Ngumbi said the EACC is pursuing influential individuals in Mombasa County he accused of stealing public land worth Sh4.2 billion.

The land belongs to state entities such as Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), Postal Corporation, Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

"In short, property worth more than Sh4 billion is in the hands of criminals. We are going to create a hostile environment for these grabbers," he said.

He said four companies have surrendered the Kisite Island Marine Reserve in Kwale County and it will be given back to KWS. The land is valued at more than Sh300 million.

Nationally, Ngumbi said the commission is pursuing cases to recover property worth about Sh40 billion.

In the counties, Ngumbi noted that the commission is investigating 21 former and current governors, including those serving their first terms, over embezzlement of funds and abuse of office.

The commission is also investigating cases where payments were made but works were not undertaken.

The officials noted that most counties have failed to remit a total of Sh80 billion, in statutory deductions for their workers.

"There will be a problem of paying pension because most counties have not remitted statutory deductions. This matter must be sorted out as soon as possible," he said.

At the same time, Ngumbi said some governors have a hand in the hiring of ghost workers in their governments. “Some of them are suspected to have introduced some names in the payroll.”

EACC chairman David Oginde, while in Mombasa recently, lamented that corruption has been devolved to the counties and that they are investigating cases of graft in several counties.

He said the commission has conducted a corruption risk assessment in 27 counties that will assist the devolved units to mitigate against corruption.