EACC denies frustrating Kilifi government from recovering Sh43m

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices at Integrity Centre, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has denied frustrating Kilifi County Government from recovering Sh43 million lost to fictitious firms.

EACC boss Twalib Mbarak said they obtained injunctions to preserve some of the assets in question pending the conclusion of the cases.

In a statement yesterday, he noted that the agency’s mandate in asset recovery should not be construed to interfere with any measures taken by Governor Amason Kingi’s administration.

On Monday, members of the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee questioned EACC’s decision to file a case stopping the devolved government from recovering millions lost through online transfer from a recurrent bank account to fictitious firms.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi before County Public Account and Investments (CPAIC) at the KICC, Nairobi. July 26, 2021. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

"Investigations were conducted and suspects charged in the court. The county government also filed civil recovery proceedings against the suspected recipient companies. EACC, however, challenged our position in recovering the money. Both matters are still active in court," said Governor Kingi, before the committee chaired by Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko.

The committee termed the commission a stumbling block to the recovery of the lost taxpayers’ money.

But in the statement, EACC explained that it began investigating suspicious payments of approximately Sh51 million to fictitious suppliers by the county government in 2016.

Mbarak revealed that there were many ongoing investigations in connection with the County Government of Kilifi.

“The position as reported in the media is, therefore, not accurate and no clarification was sought from EACC before publication,” he added.

EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

According to the submission by the county before CPAIC, the devolved government lost millions through online transfers from Recurrent Bank Account to fictitious individuals and firms.

EACC and the anti-bank fraud unit later investigated the matter and had suspected beneficiaries arraigned in court before the county government filed a suit to recover the lost money.

EACC filed a countersuit to stop the county from proceeding with the recovery, arguing that it was the only institution with the mandate for asset recovery.