EACC arrest former Tourism CS Najib Balala and five others

 Former Tourism CS Najib Balala. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Former Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala and five others have been arrested by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives over the construction of Utalii College, Kilifi Campus.

Confirming the arrest EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak said that Balala was arrested alongside former Tourism Principal Secretary Leah Adda Gwiyo and Joseph Odero West Consult Managing Partner.

Others are Allan Wafula, former Tourism Fund CEO and Flora Ngina former Tourism Fund ICT.

They will face various corruption offences and economic crimes relating to procurement fraud in the construction of the Sh8.5bn College.

They are expected to be arraigned at the Malindi Anti-Corruption Court.

“The arrest comes after investigations undertaken by the Commission in regard to irregular payment of Sh8.5 billion by the Ministry of Tourism, out of which Kes.4 billion was fraudulently paid to Baseline Architects Limited for consultancy services in the construction of the college,” said Mbarak.

According to EACC, the project which had been approved in 2007 was supposed to cost Sh1.95 billion but it was inflated by Ministry Officials to Sh10.4 billion.

The commission says that a meeting held at the college and attended by Balala and Gwiyo saw the board dismiss designs and plans that had been prepared by the Ministry of Public Works and resolved to engage a private contractor Baseline Consortium at Sh4 billion.

The Commission has since summoned 11 other suspects to EACC Headquarters at Integrity Centre or the nearest EACC Regional Office for processing.

The suspects are Joseph Rotich Cherutoi (Former Tourism Fund CEO), Morris Njue (Director, Baseline Architects Limited), Dominic Motanya (Managing Director, Baseline Architects), Rebman Malala (Director, Ujenzi Consultant) and James Mwangi Wairagu (Director, Amitech Consulting Engineers).

Others are Eden Odhiambo (Former Director Strategy and Resources, Tourism Fund), Ruth Sande (Former Standard Development Manager, Tourism Fund), Joseph Karanja Ndungu (Former - Procurement Manager, Tourism Fund), George Muya Njoroge (Former Senior Levey Inspector, Tourism Fund), Norah Mukuna – (Former Acting Procurement Manager, Tourism Fund) and Nancy Siboe (Former Head of Legal, Tourism Fund).