Former tourism officials to serve 7 years for fraud
Posted Monday, September 10 2012 at 19:57
- Ms Nabutola, unlike former Home Affairs counterpart Sylvester Mwaliko who received a three-year non-custodial sentence and the option of a fine, was jailed for four years besides a fine.
- Dr Ong’ong’a was found guilty of two other charges of paying money for services not rendered and for failing to comply with procurement rules.
Former Tourism PS Rebecca Nabutola on Monday became the second permanent secretary to be convicted over crimes committed while in office in as many weeks.
Ms Nabutola, unlike former Home Affairs counterpart Sylvester Mwaliko who received a three-year non-custodial sentence and the option of a fine, was jailed for four years besides a fine.
Mr Mwaliko was last week fined Sh3 million or three-year term over the Anglo Leasing passport scandal.
This is a rare sentence in independent Kenya where corrupt officials have tended to be societal role models and could vindicate recent Judiciary reforms.
The former PS and former Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) managing director Dr Ong’ong’a Achieng’ were found guilty of conspiracy to
defraud the ministry Sh8.4 million.
They organised and funded a trip for PSs to familiarise themselves with the marketing of wildebeest’s migrations in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in June 2007, at a function also attended by President Kibaki.
Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Nyambura ruled that the money requested by KTB from the Treasury was for marketing and wondered how KTB ended up paying Sh8.4 million for a trip budgeted to cost Sh900,000 and which was to be funded by stakeholders in the tourism sector.
“The cost of the entire trip was Sh1.8 million which was to be sourced from stakeholders.
No documents are there to show the other payments even after one stakeholder paid Sh500,000 for the trip.
In fact, the other accused (Duncan Muriuki) opened a fixed deposit account for the money and withdrew it soon after the trip was over,” said Nyambura.
Ms Nyambura sentenced Dr Ong’ong’a to three years. The jail terms for the Ms Nabutola and the former university don could increase to six and five years respectively if they fail to pay a fine of Sh1 million and Sh1.5 million respectively.
Their co-accused Mr Muriuki, the managing director of Maniago Safaris and a former board member of KTB, got the severest punishment after being sentenced to seven years in jail and a mandatory repayment of Sh18.6 million to the Tourism ministry.
This is also one of the few cases where private operatives have found themselves in trouble together with government officials over abuse of office.
Ms Nyambura ruled that the prosecution had proved beyond doubt that the three had jointly conspired to defraud the ministry despite being public officers entrusted with the management of public funds.