Agency turns radar on five counties in Sh4b graft probe

Five counties are being investigated for corrupt dealings that have cost the taxpayer Sh4 billion, according to a new report by the anti-graft agency.

The report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has identified the counties as Migori, Busia, Homa Bay, Nairobi and Siaya.

Migori is being probed for fraudulent award of tenders worth Sh2.6 billion. The tenders allegedly were awarded to companies linked to one prominent business family.

Apart from Migori, EACC says the other four counties have also been marked for bribery fraud and tender fixing.

In one case, EACC warned that a top county official could face abuse of office charges for purchasing air tickets for his family and associates using county funds.

Street lighting

In another case, a probe into a Sh108 million street lighting project has discovered that those who were in the tender committee received kickbacks.

“Immediately after the payment was made to the contractor, a sum of Sh47 million was paid to the governor and his close allies,” the report says. “The funds were later used to buy properties in Nairobi. We will be charging that particular governor.”

Nairobi County is being scrutinised after claims emerged that Sh838million was embezzled between June 2017 and January 2019.

“At least Sh858,206, 814 was paid to proxy companies between June 2017 and January 2019. EACC will be recommending top county employees as well as directors of these company for prosecution,” investigators told The Standard.

In Homa Bay County, assembly employees are being probed over conflict of interest. They are alleged to be conducting business with the assembly to the tune of Sh317 million.

A number of employees who are said to be directors of these companies or linked in some other way to them, could soon face arrest.

Recover money           

“The commission will be seeking to recover the monies paid to these companies and properties purchased by them,” a detective linked to the case said.

He added that the suspected individuals will be called in for questioning before their files are reviewed and forwarded to the Director Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji.

EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak said counties remain the commission’s top priority.

 Abuse of office

“We are focusing our investigations on financial misappropriation, lack of adherence to financial procedures and abuse of office in the counties,” said Mr Mbarak.

“The investigation also factors in unexplained accumulation of wealth by senior county officers including governors.”

Mbarak added his officers are probing a number of cases at the commission’s regional headquarters in Nairobi and once the files are complete, the DPP will give the way forward.