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EACC seeks to recover Sh80m taken from Kenya School of Law

NATIONAL
By Paul Ogemba | July 20th 2021
EACC submitted that the officials failed to deal with the public trust bestowed on them as public officials. [File, Standard]

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has begun the pursuit of former Kenya School of Law senior officials and traders said to be behind the loss of Sh80 million from the institution.

Through two separate suits filed at the High Court, EACC wants the four KSL officials, two traders and their two companies compelled to refund Sh80,104,661 paid to them without supplying any goods or services.

“The commission has established that the said payments were made through irregular, illegal and fraudulent scheme by the named officials with the sole aim of embezzling public funds, which led to the loss of the huge sum of public money from the Kenya School of Law,” said EACC.

Among those the EACC named as beneficiaries of the alleged stolen public funds are KSL assistant director of Finance and Administration Amos Kabue Mwangi, Finance Manager Frank Jackson Were, Deputy Director Morris Kiwinda Mbondenyi and assistant accountant Nobert Gondi.

The traders named are Dennis Sam Achiro and Kenneth Ochieng with their company Deskench Investments Limited. Gondi is also listed as director Firmline Company, which is alleged to have received part of the money.

In the first file, EACC through lawyer Joram Wambugu claimed that Gondi, despite being the KSL assistant accountant, incorporated Firmline Company and fraudulently received Sh47,296,990 without supplying any goods or services.

“We discovered that the fraudulent payments were authorised by the three other officials when the company was neither listed in the prequalified list of suppliers nor registered with KSL as one of their suppliers,” said Wambugu.

The commission argued that Mwangi, Were and Mbondenyi as signatories to KSL accounts colluded to pay their colleague the amount when they had a duty to ensure that the institution’s funds were utilised appropriately.

According to the commission, they carelessly approved payments to Firmline Company when aware that it was fully owned by their colleague.

“We have reason to believe that they hatched the corrupt scheme by incorporating the company as a vehicle to embezzle monies which resulted in the loss of Sh47,296,990,” the commission said.

Wambugu added that Gondi, being an assistant accountant at KSL, had direct access to the institution’s procurement and payment systems, which he manipulated to pay himself the huge amounts.

He added that their actions were in direct conflict with their positions as it amounted to an employee awarding himself money he had not worked for, leading to the loss of public funds.

In the second suit, EACC claimed that Deskench Investments Limited received Sh32,807,671 through collusion with the named officials when they had not supplied any goods and services.

The commission submitted that the officials failed to deal with the public trust bestowed on them as public officials and improperly enriched the company and its two directors to the detriment of the public.

The commission added that the deputy director, finance director and the finance manager failed to adhere to KSL’s internal controls on managing finances, which resulted in the loss of public funds.

The four officials were among 12 suspects charged in June last year with conspiracy to defraud Sh198 million from the institution.  

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