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Four governors probed over Sh11 billion wealth

NATIONAL
By Grace Ng’ang’a | May 26th 2021

Integrity centre building that houses the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission-EACC.[David Gichuru,Standard]

A sitting governor and three former county bosses account for more than half of the Sh20 billion being pursued by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The anti-graft agency told a parliamentary committee yesterday that Governor Moses Kassaine (Samburu) and former governors Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) and Mike Sonko have Sh11.5 billion of unexplained wealth.

The latter two were impeached by their respective county assemblies and their impeachments confirmed by the Senate. They have since been battling court cases relating to their terms of office, including the ones alluded to by EACC yesterday.

Kidero served as the first governor of Nairobi between 2013 and 2017 when he lost to Sonko. He has since showed interest in Homa Bay governorship. Kassaine was allowed to continue serving as a governor but under a strict regimen imposed by the courts.

Appearing before the Senate Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee (JLAHRC), EACC Deputy Director Jackson Mae said the agency was now undertaking continuous system reviews and corruption risk assessment targeting ministries, departments and agencies and county governments.

“In the past five years, EACC has conducted 1,000 investigations on corruption and related offences with 275 corrupt cases finalised in court, out of which 169 resulted in convictions during the same period,” said Mr Mae.

Procurement irregularities

According to statistics he tabled, the procurement irregularities at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency popularly known as the “Covid billionaires” scam account for Sh7 billion. The much awaited matter of the Kemsa scam was listed as pending review by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji.

The third “high impact investigations”, in the words of EACC, is the pending court case against one Joseph Rading Otieno and six others. Otieno is accused of embezzling, with others, standing imprests in Homa Bay County amounting to Sh2 billion.

The agency said it recovered Sh25 billion in the 2019-2020 financial year and has since surrendered the money to the State. The amount is more than 100 per cent of what was recovered in the previous financial year, according to Mae.

In the report, EACC said it had averted loss of Sh30.4 billion and was seeking forfeiture of Sh25 billion by public officials found to own unexplained wealth.

EACC said county governments that have been on corruption risk assessment are Taita Taveta, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Kiambu, Makueni, Nyandarua, Kitui, Narok, Vihiga and Embu.

Mae also highlighted the challenges that the commission was facing in the fight against corruption in the country.

He cited budget constraints, politicizsation of the fight against corruption, unethical conduct, and weak legal framework to implement Chapter Six of the Constitution and inadequate mechanism for enforcement of systems reviews.

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