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Machakos minister built Sh457 million empire from country tenders

Machakos County Chief Executive Officer for Agriculture Urbanus Wambua also thought he had amassed a Sh457 million empire until the EACC struck on allegations that his assets were proceeds of corruption. The Commission claimed that the CEC used his position when he was chairman of Machakos County tender committee between 2013 and 2017 to register several companies which he awarded tenders at inflated costs.

According to the Commission, Wambua’s cumulative net salary from 2013 amounts to Sh16 million but he has acquired properties and cash in his accounts worth more than Sh200 million which is disproportionate with his known sources of income and assets of more than Sh250 million. The Commission claimed that in some instances, Wambua’s companies were paid money without supplying anything to the County government and in instances where they delivered, the goods supplied did not commensurate with the high amount of money paid.

EACC submitted that as soon as the money hit the companies’ accounts, Wambua would hurriedly transfer them to his two personal accounts.
“The huge amount of money in his accounts can be directly traced to Machakos County Government. We have reasonable suspicion that the amounts were paid for goods and services not delivered as per the awarded contracts,” said Simiyu.

The High Court ordered that the assets which include a palatial home, several pieces of land in Nairobi and Machakos and the cash in account will remain frozen until the suit is determined. At the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Samuel Njoroge Kariuki took advantage of sensitisation meetings held by the officials to siphon Sh79.7 million on the pretext that it was used to buy snacks during seminars.

Kariuki was wallowing in massive wealth despite his monthly salary of Sh31,000 until the EACC received intelligence information on his lavish lifestyle and struck. EACC obtained orders freezing Kariuki’s account at Equity Bank over suspicion that he has been engaging in massive embezzlement of public funds through fictitious payments from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry accounts.

The Commission said they suspect Kariuki used some of the money to buy properties given that by the time they started investigations, they discovered that only Sh22.5 million was remaining in his account and that they need time to uncover where he took the other balance. An alleged loss of billions of shillings from the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) has also caught the attention of the anti-graft agency which has gone after the supply chain manager Peter Maina Njehia and his wife Julie Hellen Matu. The Commission suspects that Njehia has been using corrupt deals at the electricity company to acquire funds which he invested in several pieces of land across the country, apartments and high end vehicles.

“Our investigations have revealed that contractors and suppliers to KETRACO have been bribing senior officials including Njehia to facilitate payments and awarding of the contracts,” said EACC.