The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on Thursday directed the prosecution of Garissa governor Ali Korane and four members of his administration on suspicion of economic crimes.
The officials have accused of embezzling Sh233,506,000 grant to the county by the World Bank for the financial year 2018/2019.
The grant, under the Kenya Urban Support Programme, was to be used to construct Qorahey market, re-carpet Garissa township roads and put up stormwater drainage and pedestrian walkways.
The money was instead diverted on different occasions between February 2019 and September 2019, director of public prosecutions Noordin Haji says.
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Haji said the irregular diversions were facilitated by the chief finance officer Ibrahim Malow Nur and the head of treasury Mohamed Ahmed Abdulahi.
The others are county executive officer municipality Abdi Shale and the head of accounting at the municipal Ahmed Abdullahi Aden.
"Ali Korane being the governor of Garissa county since August 21, 2017 was the chief executive of the said county government and mandated to provide leadership in governance and development, be accountable for the management and use of county resources," Haji said in a statement.
Korane reportedly failed to deposit with the speaker the signed intergovernmental participation agreement for Kenya Urban Support Programme between the national government and his county.
This led to lack of oversight, Haji said.
"He also failed to ensure the administration of grant funds in accordance with the relevant provision of the law, leading to misappropriation of grant funds by county officials," noted Haji.
He added that the governor had abdicated his responsibilities and therefore facilitating the misappropriation of the grant funds.
Haji now wants the five charged with conspiracy to commit an offence, willful failure to comply with the law relating to the management of public funds, misappropriation of public funds under Public Finance Management Act 2012 and abuse of office.
"Noting that the investigations were in regard to the county of my origin, and to avoid allegations of bias, I appointed an independent team comprising of senior and experienced prosecutors to review the matter and give their independent findings," said Haji.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) who recommended the charges said that Sh205,234,132 was irregularly diverted by county officials to various county government accounts while still at the Central Bank of Kenya.
EACC added that their investigation revealed that Sh124 million was later irregularly diverted to the County Departments of Water and Health and the Garissa Water and Sewerage Company (GAWASCO).
"There was no justification for utilising the programme funds in that manner since the county had an emergency fund budget of Sh93 million in the financial year 2018/2019 and Sh40 million for 2019/2020," EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak said.
He added, "There was an elaborate scheme by the suspects to defraud the Garissa Municipal Board through diversion of public funds."
Governor Korane and his four co-accused have been directed to present themselves at EACC headquarters at Integrity Centre Nairobi tomorrow at 8:00 am.