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MP, Chebitwey and Itemere to take plea in Sh122 million case

By Cyrus Ombati | October 29th 2018
Lugari MP Ayub Savula when he appeared before the National Assembly Powers and Privileges Committee on the bribery allegations. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]

An MP, a former PS and an ex-director in a State advertising firm are today expected to take plea in a multi-million shilling payment scam case.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula, former ICT Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere and former Director of Government Advertising Agency (GAA) Dennis Chebitwey are among 23 individuals and five companies whom the State believes siphoned Sh122 million through briefcase entities instead of paying media companies for services rendered.

The government owes media companies Sh2.5 billion for services rendered but not paid for over the years.

Savula and Chebitwey yesterday received visitors at the Muthaiga Police Station where they are being held.

Savula protested his innocence, saying he was ready to face the charges.

Itemere, on the other hand, was arrested yesterday after he surrendered at the Karen Police Station

More suspects were expected to surrender to police by last evening.

Also expected to appear before investigators were Savula’s two wives, Hellen Kemboi and Melody Gatwiri.

“They have called to say they are out of Nairobi but they will surrender for processing,” said a senior officer in Nairobi, who is privy to the matter.

“I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence of fraudulent advertisement and payment of Sh122,335,500 to honourable Ayub Savula, Melody Gatwiri and Hellen Kemboi, the Sunday Publishers Limited, Melsav Company Ltd, Johnnewton Communications, the Express Media Group, No Burns Protection Ltd, Cross Continent Ventures Ltd and Sheldlock Ltd respectively,” said Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

Mr Haji added: “I am further satisfied that Sammy Ishiundu Itemere approved fraudulent payments of Sh122, 335,500 to the aforementioned names and companies.”

The suspects will face charges of obtaining money by false pretenses, making a document without authority and aiding in the commission of a felony, among others.

Itemere, Chebitwey, Dickson Nyandiage, Henry Mungasia and Susan Akinyi will face an additional charge of abuse of office.

The GAA was created in 2015 to handle all government advertisements in electronic and print media despite protests by the Media Owners Association.The agency publishes My Gov, a weekly insert distributed in the dailies. And although parastatals and other government departments remit money to the agency, it has not been paying media houses their dues.

The GAA owes The Standard Group Sh829.7 million, Nation Media Group Sh857 million and Star Publications Limited Sh469.3 million.

It also owes Mediamax Network Sh586.3 million and Royal Media Services Sh75 million.

In August, media houses complained to Mr Haji over the non-payment prompting him to launch investigations.

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