A sitting governor and a former governor are among individuals recommended for prosecution in a multi-billion shillings’ scandal unearthed by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
In its quarterly report on investigations done between April and June, the agency says the suspected individuals conspired to steal more than Sh20 billion through fictitious contracts and payments.
Top of its recommendation is the prosecution of a governor, officials from Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) and Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) over construction of the Lake Turkana Wind Power project that led to the loss of over Sh18 billion.
“Investigations revealed procurement irregularities and fraudulent payments for the contract between KPLC and Isolux Inginieria for construction of 400KV Transmission Interconnector power line from Loiyangalani to Suswa which resulted to loss of Sh18,499,082,672 and increased electricity tariffs,” said EACC.
The report recommends the prosecution of the officials for conspiracy to commit an offence of economic crime, abuse of office, conflict of interest, failure to comply with procurement laws, fraudulent acquisition of public funds, money laundering, and neglect of duty.
Investigations revealed that in 2005, Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) Ltd leased 150,000 acres of land in Marsabit, North Horr Area to put up a wind power generation plant and in 2010 entered into a power purchase agreement with KPLC.
The agreement was that LTWP Ltd would generate 300MW of electricity, and that KPLC would be the sole off taker. Since KPLC needed to transfer the generated power to the National Grid in Suswa, they contracted Ketraco to do the power line.
“However, investigations revealed that construction of the transmission line was incomplete and as a result, LTWP Ltd charged the government Sh18,499,082,672 which was paid through collusion with public officers resulting to the loss of public funds,” said EACC.
The report has been presented to the Attorney General for transmission to the National Assembly and publication in the Kenya Gazette.
Under Section 36 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, EACC is required to prepare quarterly reports setting out the number of reports made to the Director of Public Prosecutions recommending prosecution or closure.
EACC investigated 22 claims within the period and recommended 17 for prosecution, while three were recommended for further investigations and the rest closed.
The second biggest scandal happened at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) where EACC claims senior managers pocketed Sh491 million as salaries and gratuity to ghost workers.
NMK payroll had 105 ghost workers included between 2016 and 2022 who were paid gross salary ranging between Sh88,000 and Sh95,000, and gratuity at the rate of 31 per cent of the annual basic pay.
Stay informed. Subscribe to our newsletter
“The ghost workers were paid cumulative totals of Sh491,405,413 as salaries and were made to obtain loan facilities at a specified KCB bank branch and later submit the loan amounts to the NMK officials for a token of between Sh100,000 and Sh200,000 from the loan money.”
The affordable housing project has also not been left behind after EACC claimed that officials at the National Housing Corporation misappropriated Sh150 million during construction of the houses in Lang’ata between 2009 and 2010.
According to the commission, the contract awarded to Lemna International Ltd was valued at Sh902 million, but NHC paid Sh1,075,895,612.
The family of former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu are also in trouble after the commission recommended they be charged for receiving Sh50 million from the county government in irregular contracts.
According to the commission, Waititu, his wife, daughter and former chief officers in his government should be charged with conflict of interest, abuse of office and unlawful acquisition of public property.
“Investigations established that the companies Bins Management Services, Connex Logistics Africa, Beedee Management Services, and Mudrex Enterprises Limited were owned by Waititu, his spouse and daughter, and were irregularly awarded the contracts between 2017 and 2019,” said EACC.
In Vihiga county, the commission has recommended prosecution of senior officials who pocketed Sh17 million for a non-existent contract for construction of a blood transfusion centre.
According to the EACC report, the county government had set aside Sh9 million for construction of the blood transfusion centre, but none of the five bidders met the qualifications although the county officials are said to have approved the payment of Sh17 million.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has also been busted over allegations that its officials misappropriated Sh5.9 million meant for fencing KWS compound and staff quarters in Garsen, Tana River county through a tender that was awarded to Al-Karim General Construction Company.
Investigations revealed the project was not budgeted for and was not captured in the procurement plan, and the company awarded the tender used forged documents.
Off the hook
“An inspection audit revealed the project was valued at Sh4,117,027 against the tender sum of Sh5,908,088. The officials should be charged with willful failure to comply with procurement laws, forgery, and economic crimes,” said EACC.
At the same time, former Transport Minister and National Hospital Insurance Fund Board Chairman Michael Kamau is off the hook in a USD10 million (Sh1,436,000,000) bribery allegations for roads construction tenders.
“Investigations established that the bribes allegedly paid by an Israeli Company known as Shikun and Binui (SBI) with the aim of promoting its business interests in Kenya did not extend to Eng Michael Kamau and recommends that the file be closed,” said the commission.
Also off the hook are officials from the Kenya National Examination Council who were suspected to have colluded and illegally awarded a tender for printing of certificates but the commission said their investigations established the contract was above board.
Meanwhile former Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu will wait a little longer to know her fate after the DPP asked EACC to do further investigations of abuse of office for appointing members of her manifesto implementation unit.