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EACC grills MP and Kisumu Speaker over mall costing

By Harold Odhiambo | June 5th 2019
Kisumu County Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo at Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Offices in Kisumu on June 3, 2019. EACC had earlier raided his homes in Kisumu and arrested him over the construction of the Sh 4.2 billion Lake Basin Development Authority mall. (Collins Oduor, Standard)

Kisumu Speaker Onyango Oloo's homes in Kisumu and Nairobi were yesterday raided by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officers.

Other detectives stormed the home of Bobasi MP Innocent Obiri in Igare as well as offices of the Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA).

The two are persons of interest in the construction of Sh4.2 billion Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) mall, whose cost was allegedly inflated.

It was not clear whether Mr Oloo had been placed under arrest, but detectives said the raid was part of investigations to establish whether public funds were misappropriated in the LBDA mall construction.

The raid began at about 6:30am yesterday, with detectives ransacking the Speaker’s house in Milimani and Mamboleo, before driving him to his office at the County Assembly.

They collected documents from the homes and office before driving him to the Western Region EACC offices.

Following the raid, Oloo promised to comply with the detectives.

“As at now, I also do not know whether I am under arrest or not, but I am very innocent,” said Oloo.

He noted that he was informed by his son that his Nairobi home had also been raided by detectives.

In the case, EACC estimates that up to Sh2 billion could have been stolen due to inflated costs in the construction of the Lake Basin Mall in Mamboleo, Kisumu.

The initial cost of constructing the mall was capped at Sh2.5 billion, but reports indicate that about Sh4.2 billion was spent to construct the mall. The mall was built through a partnership between LBDA and Erdermann Properties, a Chinese developer, on a 20:80 basis.

The investigators also want to know why LBDA took a loan of Sh2.5 billion from Co-operative Bank.

They want to establish why government land was used to secure a loan from the bank without the consent of the Attorney General.

The title deed of the multi-billion shilling mall land is in the hands of Erdermann Properties.

Oloo Tuesday dismissed claims that money had been misappropriated saying there were variations which did not amount to misappropriation.

Initial plan

“In the initial plan, the three-star hotel, the wall, the tyre center as well as the showroom were not included. They were added in the project,” said Oloo.

He claimed that during the period he served as the chairman of LBDA, no payments were made.

“We had committed to about Sh3.8 billion. The figure that was increased was below 25 per cent,” he said.

Oloo questioned the "lengthy delays" by the authorities in finalising the matter, even as he vowed not to step aside as Speaker.

A source privy to the investigation, however, said they were in the final stages.

[Additional reporting by Erick Abuga]  

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