Three residents of Siaya County have moved to court seeking to compel the anti-graft body to commence investigations against chief officers over alleged theft of public funds.
Justice Nixon Sifuna certified the case by Peter Odhiambo Agoro, Elizabeth Akinyi and Erick Onyango Omeny as urgent and directed them to serve the court papers upon the chief officers named in the case as well as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
The three residents claim that some of the officials were retained by Governor James Orengo yet an internal audit conducted by former Auditor General Edward Ouko, unearthed massive irregularities and plunder of county money while indicting the officials.
The audit was commissioned by Mr Orengo and allegedly unearthed irregularities that led to the loss of millions of public funds.
“Upon being served with the respondents’ responses and written submissions, the petitioners to within 14 days from the date of that service, file and serve written submissions and legal authorities,” the judge said.
They have named Jack Odinga, the acting chief officer of finance, Geoffrey Ochieng, acting head of treasury, Job Kingsley Amoth Otieno, and Hezron Junior Opiyo both serving as departmental accountants.
Also named in the petition are Mr Orengo and the office of the Auditor General. They want the EACC to commence investigations into the activities of the county officials and institute proceedings against them if they are found culpable.
“The court do grant an order stopping the respondents from undertaking fiduciary activities until the funds misappropriated and unaccounted for are accounted for and ascertained by the 2nd interested party, pending the hearing and final determination of this case,” Mr Agoro said in an affidavit.
They claim the audit report showed unsupported domestic travel and subsistence allowances through imprest and inter-account and no supporting documents were availed for audit verification.
The audit, they claim further flagged anomalies where Sh100 million was transferred to the imprest account and withdrawn in cash.
“As per the internal audit report that is the Ouko Taskforce report of January 2023, Ksh2 billion was lost within the last two years,” he said.
Mr Agoro says the money, which was transferred to an imprest account and withdrawn in cash was not authorised by the Controller of Budget office, contrary to the constitution.
“That I am aware that the adverse audit report by the Kenya National Audit Office for the year 2021/22 revealed persistent theft and plunder of public money,” he said.
They further claim the Auditor General revealed multiple unaccounted earnings and payments running into millions and some of the officials serving in the previous administration have been retained by Mr Orengo.
“A declaration that the respondents have abetted and aided corruption amounting to gross violation of the constitution and have rendered incapable of discharging their mandates as required by the constitution and various statutes,” Mr Agoro.
The case will be mentioned on June 21 to confirm whether parties have complied with the directions and for the court to fix a date for highlighting of submissions.