Governors on EACC radar over graft in counties

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu when he appeared before Kiambu Law Courts. Most governors are under EACC radar over corruption. [Standard]

A governor suspected of spending Sh1 billion to purchase prime property including a three-star hotel in Nairobi is among three county chiefs lined up for questioning by anti-graft detectives.

The second-term governor from Rift Valley is on the radar of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for unexplained property acquired during his term in office.

The investments are majorly in real estate. He has also bought hotels in his county and neighbouring counties.

Two other governors from the Northern Frontier region are also expected to be questioned on suspicious acquisition of wealth.

They are claimed to have disregarded procurement procedures in their counties. Investigators are also looking into claims of alleged irregular hiring of staff. Accusations range from hiring people with fake academic documents and nepotism.

EACC confided to The Standard that it has been monitoring the marked governors’ investments, measuring the wealth they have acquired while in office, against what they declared in their wealth declaration forms while taking over county leadership.

Anonymous complaints

“We have received anonymous complaints from the electorate. We have also received intelligence reports on how the county funds are diverted to acquire the properties,” said an investigator .

Last month, Marsabit county top officials were questioned on claims of irregular employment. Garissa county government is being investigated over employment of staff using forged documents, over-staffing and lack of adherence to employment procedures.

EACC spokesperson Yassin Amaro has also confirmed that Machakos county government is being investigated after it signed a questionable Sh89 million deal to de-silt Marumba dam.

Still, Machakos is on the radar for receiving Sh50 million from the Danish government, whose expenditure is being queried.

Under scrutiny also is ex-Nandi governor Cleophas Lagat. Mr Lagat is being investigated for floating a Sh103.4 million tender while in office for the construction of county headquarters, with EACC reports showing the amount was grossly exaggerated to the tune of Sh20million and the work is yet to be completed.

In the Marumba dam case, part of the work was to excavate soil to a depth of three centimetres and disposing it to a site approved by the county engineer.

“One of the things we are investigating is that the firm that won the tender was removing soil from the dam and heaping it on the sides. When it rained, the soil was swept back,” said Amaro.

The work also involved construction of an access road to the Marumba dam site, clearing of bushes, landscaping and soil stabilisation. 

Project documents show that an engineer in the Water department was satisfied that 40 per cent of the work was satisfactorily done.

The county, however, went ahead to pay the contractor part of the final payment amounting to Sh35.5 million on March 15, 2016, despite 60 per cent of the work being incomplete.

The latest development adds to the list of governors under investigation who include Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu), Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi), Mwangi Wa Iria (Muranga) Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta).