EACC targets City Hall in corruption crackdown

Office of the Governor in Nairobi. [Pkemoi Ng'enoh, Standard]

Nairobi City County is among those on the corruption list being investigated by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

For several days there have been reports that the investigators were observing senior individuals at City Hall claimed to be pocketing millions through unscrupulous deals.

EACC has now confirmed that all is not well in the capital city and they have now shifted their focus on some individuals believed to be beneficiaries of corruption.

“Corruption is prevalent in the counties and the Commission is intensifying efforts to hold to account all those embezzling public funds,” EACC spokesperson Eric Ngumbi said.

“Several files are under investigation, others are under review by the DPP while in others, suspects have been charged. The operation conducted in Nairobi on Friday is part of several investigations targeting senior officials in Nairobi County,” Ngumbi added.

Recently, detectives from the authority picked a governor and former Cabinet Secretary over alleged embezzlement of billions of shillings from the public coffers.

In Nairobi, a well-connected individual in Urban planning at City Hall is said to be among those being probed over massive wealth suspected to have been acquired through shoddy deals.

The suspect was arrested on Friday and escorted to EACC headquarters and later released after a recording statement.

The authority said the suspect's unexplained wealth includes bank accounts, commercial buildings and high-end vehicles.

In January, governor Sakaja through a letter to EACC admitted that all is not well in Nairobi County singling out the employment process.

In a letter addressed to EACC boss Twalib Mbarak in a letter dated January 4, 2024,  Sakaja said that he was alarmed by how job seekers were being coerced to pay money in exchange for opportunities at City Hall.

“This practice which is essentially a form of corruption and extortion, is not only unethical but blatantly illegal, severely undermining the integrity of the employment practices in the public sector,” he wrote.

He added that several people have lost their cash in the quest for employment only to be left without the promised jobs.

“In light of these disturbing reports, I respectfully request your intervention to conduct a comprehensive and unbiased investigation into these allegations,” Sakaja wrote.

On April 24, 2024, when the assembly was approving a supplementary budget, Finance Committee Chairman Wilfred Odallo stated that the county is still losing millions through graft.

Odallo added the County was losing millions of shillings to fake suppliers in what he described ‘hewa suppliers’.

“Even as we approve the budget for the county, there are still fake suppliers around, in fact, some of them are in this Assembly and I am ready to table their names,’ Odallo said.

The talk on graft in Nairobi County comes barely a fortnight since UDA members’ parliament claimed that the leadership at City Hall and executive by extension is laced with aloof and dangerously corrupt leadership.

The lawmakers raised concerns over unplanned constructions in the city including high-rises citing that pockets of some individuals at City Hall are greased either with cash or apartments and commercial space in these high-rise structures.

At the same time, they noted that the recent report by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu unearthed the rot at City Hall among them gross mismanagement of public finances.

Gathungu has raised concerns over huge legal pending bills in Nairobi County for the Financial Year that ended on June 30, 2023.