EACC targets three governors in illegal wealth accumulation

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) CEO Halakhe Waqo
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) CEO Halakhe Waqo appears before a Senate committee on December 14, 2016. EACC is targeting several governors over corruption claims. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission wants assets belonging to three governors and their associates frozen.

EACC believes governors Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a), Dr Evans Kidero (Nairobi) and Okoth Obado (Migori) have amassed wealth in a questionable manner in the four and half years they have been in office.
Detectives say the county bosses registered properties in the name of their proxies who were also given lucrative tenders.

“We are investigating these and many other cases,” EACC chief executive Halakhe Waqo said Friday.

EACC detectives say Mr Iria received Sh1.58 million in bribes to influence the awarding of tenders to seven companies between 2014 and 2016. 

He is said to have received Sh1 million from Top Image and Benisa Ltd, Sh200,000 from Spinners Ventures and Super Venture Ltd, Sh300,000 from Buldel Enterprises, Sh30,000 from Hotel Nokras and Sh50,000 from Golden Palm Breeze Hotel.

The money, EACC says, was wired to Mwangi wa Iria Foundation account at Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY and Sh1 million withdrawn by a Ms Jane Waigwe Kimani.

Efforts to reach Mr Iria did not bear fruit but county government officials played down the claims.

One said the money in question was from contributors to the One Cow One Home programme initiated by the governor.

EACC says Mr Kidero transferred Sh192.5 million from the county government coffers to associates.

According to the report seen by the Nation, Sh109.5 million was wired to Lodwar Wholesalers whose directors are Mr John Githua Njogu and Mrs Grace Njeri Githua - who are related to Mr George Wainaina, Governor Kidero’s chief of staff dismissed in 2014.

The couple own a company called Ngurumani Traders, which EACC says received Sh55.5 million.

According to the investigations, Lodwar Wholesalers wired Sh26 million to Mr Kidero’s account while Ngurumani credited Sh14 million. 

Mr Wainaina is listed as a director of Cups Ltd, which received an unknown amount.

The report says another Sh28 million was wired to Schindler Ltd whose signatories are Schindler Holding Switzerland, Mathew Alan Biskaduros, Mathews Tefo Motochatsi and Symmon Kidero, the governor’s brother.

It adds that Sh20 million of the money was wired to Sagar Builders whose directors are Mr Virji Meghji Patel and Mr Amruta Murji Vekaria.

Sagar Builders then wired Sh14 million to the governor’s account.

The report indicates that Mr Kidero wired Sh13.8 million to Gem Apartments Ltd whose directors are the governor, his wife and their two children.  

Other signatories of Gem Apartments Ltd are Valentini Kolentini, Robert Mukusya Kioko and The Evans Kidero Foundation.

The report says there have been suspicious transfers of Sh706 million made to the governor’s accounts locally.

It adds that the county boss received Sh592.3 million between November 20, 2010 and July 31, 2015 in his Family Bank account and another Sh32.8 million in his account at Standard Chartered Bank between January and August 2015.

EACC is also investigating Sh2.6 billion payments made by the Migori devolved unit.

Bank accounts
Nine companies associated with a Mr Jared Kwaga, believed to be one of Mr Obado’s proxies, were granted Sh2.6 billion tenders in three years.

Investigators say the money was used to put up palatial houses, hotels and other properties in the county.

EACC adds that Mr Kwaga wired millions of shillings from his account to those of Mr Obado’s two daughters, Scarlet Susan Okoth and Acholla Okoth.

The children’s accounts have since been closed.

Seletrack Consultants, one of the nine companies associated with Mr Kwaga, was paid more than Sh176 million.

Invoices seen by the Nation showed the firm was awarded tenders for “support and maintenance of structured cabling at the municipal block”.

The same company was paid Sh1.1 million for commissioning of a website, Sh7.8 million for unspecified consultancy and Sh4 million for yet another consultancy.

Mbingo Enterprises Ltd, a company registered in the name of Ernest Omondi and which EACC says is another of Governor Obado’s proxies, was paid more than Sh700 million for several contracts.

EACC says though Mbingo Enterprises Ltd constructed the governor’s home in Uriri Constituency, it could not find records indicating that the county boss paid the contractor.

The governor’s director of communications Nicholas Anyuor dismissed the investigations as political.

“The governor has been audited by State agencies and found to be clean. EACC has reduced itself to fighting battles for his rivals we shall emerge victorious on Tuesday,” he said, referring to the General Election.