Sh14m graft probe against Turkana governor still under way: EACC

Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is still investigating a Sh14 million corruption case against Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok.

In the meantime, the EACC wants the High Court to dismiss a petition in which the governor is seeking an apology from the commission for alleged defamation.

An EACC forensic investigator Kipkosgey Kilimo termed the petition as an attempt by the governor to emasculate the commission and prevent it from discharging its duties.

The commission is investigating claims that Turkana County Government paid Sh14 million to a contractor for construction of a bridge across River Kerio in Turkana South.

In particular, the EACC is investigating Governor Nanok and County Finance Executive Paul Ekwom following claims that the construction was not done and the payments were irregular.

Their names were contained in a report given to President Uhuru Kenyatta by the EACC two months ago and which led to suspension of other public officials from the government.

But Nanok and Ekwam have filed the petition at Milimani High Court in Nairobi arguing that the decision by the commission to include their names in the report to the President was an act of malice.

They claim they were not given a chance to be heard before the report was given to the Head of State.

Nanok further claims there has never been such a construction project and no money has ever been paid for the same in Turkana County.

"The said statements were intended to mean that we are corrupt individuals who are unfit to hold public office by virtue of the provisions of chapter six of the Constitution. We want the court to issue an order of compensation by way of damages due to the injuries occasioned to their reputation among the right thinking members of the society," they say in the court papers.

But in his response, Kilimo denied the allegations that the two officials had been vilified publicly and portrayed as corrupt and unfit to hold public office adding that the matter was still under investigation.

"Investigations are a covert exercise and once finalised, the report is forwarded to the DPP in accordance with the law," he told the court in his affidavit.

He added: "This court cannot be cajoled by the petitioners as they are attempting, so as to quash a report that was prepared pursuant to living statutory as well as constitutional requirements."