DPP Tobiko orders prosecution of top officials over graft

Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko
Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko. PHOTO| COURTESY

The Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has ordered for the prosecution of five individuals over allegations of graft.

In a statement, Tobiko ordered the prosecution of former employee of the defunct Eldoret Municipal Council Nicholas Ngeno, Kenya Slum Upgrading Program (KENSUP) Project Manager Jackson Mutua, Fredrick Ojwang and Ruth Otanga over allegations of misappropriation of over Ksh28 million for uncompleted or undone work at the Langas Market.

The payment was made by Nicholas Ngeno (the now Kericho County Executive Member for Lands Housing and Physical Planning) for the project funded by KENSUP.

“EACC investigated the allegations and from the evidence recommended that Nicholas Ngeno, Jackson Mutua and Fredrick Ojwang and Ruth Otanga the directors of the company awarded the works be charge,” read the statement in part.

“Upon independent review of the file, the DPP is satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to sustain the recommended charges.”

Speaker of the Elgeyo Marakwet County Assembly Albert Kochei is also set to face prosecution for obtaining allowances in a deceitful manner.

Kochei is alleged to have obtained allowances purporting to have travelled to Atlanta Georgia in the United States, a trip that never was.

In his recommendations, DPP stated that it had reviewed Kochei’s file and was satisfied that the evidence provided is sufficient to sustain charges against the Speaker, as recommended by the EACC.

Tobiko further directed that administrative action be taken against the interim county assembly clerk Judith Adero for failing to surrender the imprest within the stipulated time, thus hampering efforts to recover the full amount from Kochei’s salary.

NSSF graft claims

Touching on the corruption allegations at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Tobiko differed with EACC’s recommendations that the files of seven individuals linked to graft at the Fund be closed for lack of evidence.

Instead, the DPP ordered that, though there was no sufficient evidence to prosecute the seven, administrative action should be taken against them over allegations of irregular awarding of tender for the design, supply, installation and commission of electronic surveillance system to Micro City Ltd.

Accounting Officer Alex Kazongo (then Managing Trustee), Chairman and Members of the Fund Tender Committee Nancy Mwangi, Joseph Mabiria , Milkah Bwondara, Gideon Kyego, George Mwandembo and Catherine Edalia are accused of using their position to award the tender at a sum of Sh244,825,708.

The DPP also called for further investigation into the allegation of irregular allocation of Mwembe Tayari Public Market to private owners by Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho.

He stated that though EACC had recommended closure of the file for lack of evidence against Joho, Mohammed Abulla Zubedi and Abdullhakim Zubedi, there was need for further investigation to be carried out to cover certain critical areas before a final decision is made.

Suspended Energy CS Davis Chirchir

Tobiko also directed EACC to carry out further investigations into the allegations of corruption touching on Kenya Power Managing Director Ben Chumo and Suspended Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir.

The two are accused of using their positions to fraudulent obtain Ksh90 million which Kenya Pipeline had transferred to Kenya Power for unknown business contracts.

“EACC investigated the allegations and recommended that the inquiry file be closed without any further action for lack of evidence of criminal culpability against Davis Chirchir and Ben Chumo.

“However, upon full and careful analysis of the evidence therein, it was noted that some crucial evidence was not in the file. Upon inquiry, EACC indicated it was pursuing the said evidence,” stated Tobiko.

“In the circumstances, the DPP directed that the inquiry file be left open pending the outcome of the further investigations being conducted.”

Similar recommendations were made in the case involving Caroli Omondi, the former Chief of Staff for CORD leader Raila Odinga during his time as Prime Minister.

Tobiko rejected EACC’s recommendations for closure of Omondi’s file instead directing further investigations and re-submission of the file.

Closed files

Chief Executive Officer, National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation (NWCPC) Evans Ngibuini and the Nyeri County Assembly were let off the hook after Tobiko agreed with EACC’s advice that their files be closed for lack of evidence.

Ngibuini had been accused of impropriety of funds in the construction of Muruny/Siyoi Dam in West Pokot while the Nyeri County Government had been accused of irregular procurement of furniture for the county assembly and 30 wards from Seiwa Furniture at a cost of Sh13,787,436.

The DPP however directed EACC to investigate the county over corruption allegations in the procurement of vehicles from Toyota Kenya and irregular payments made by county officials to themselves or people known to them.

Investigations into county and national government officials and parastatal heads began in March after President Uhuru Kenyatta tabled in Parliament a list of individuals implicated in graft which was handed to him by EACC.

So far five cabinet secretaries, Charity Ngilu (Land), Kazungu Kambi (Labour), Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Davis Chirchir (Energy) and Michael Kamau (Transport) have been suspended after their names were mentioned in the list over corruption allegations in their various ministries.

Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia was also suspended in the clampdown.

The report also implicates governors Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Isaac Ruto (Bomet), Peter Munya (Meru), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), Ukur Yattani (Marsabit), Godana Doyo (Isiolo) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi) over graft allegations.

Several Members of Parliament and Senator also feature in the infamous EACC ‘list of shame’ which had a total of 175 names.

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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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