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Graft: Governors in court next week

Halakhe Waqo, EACC Chief Executive.
Halakhe Waqo, EACC Chief Executive. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Three sitting governors and a former one are set to appear in court next week while 20 others are under investigations over corruption involving millions of shillings mostly related to procurement and abuse of office.

Halakhe Waqo, chief executive officer of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), yesterday told the Senate’s Justice and Legal Affairs committee that they have a watertight case against the county chiefs as they carried out in-depth investigations for one year.

The anti-corruption commission also revealed that they are investigating 10 other governors serving their first term over corruption.

Mr Waqo says the agency is closing in on two principal secretaries, three commissioners of independent bodies, two MPs and directors of parastatals whose files have been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He addressed the committee in the company of EACC chairman Eliud Wabukala, but did not reveal the identities of the governors and other top officials in his list, saying it would be prejudicial.

“Until we produce them in court, we can’t reveal their identities but I can only promise you that we have a watertight case,” Mr Waqo said.

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“You will soon see governors in court. We are focused on counties this time because we have received a lot of complaints from members of the public over corruption at that level,” Mr Wabukala said.

Mr Waqo said the agency was doing its best, only citing slow judicial process in dealing with corruption cases.

The war on graft has lately focused on the role of procurement officers, who are supposed to be vetted, including taking lie tests.

Lost billions

A number of State agencies, including the National Youth Service, the National Cereals and Produce Board and Kenya Pipeline Company have been accused of losing billions of shillings to corruption.

Even as the war on graft has been focused on the national level, the counties have also been in the spotlight, according to official reports.
In 2016, Auditor-General Edward Ouko flagged Sh20 billion for the Nairobi County which exposed the chaotic running of the devolved units, theft and misuse of taxpayers money.

The county had also failed to bank Sh69.5 million it earned in revenue while the city’s assembly could not account for Sh207 million it used in the purchase of goods and services.

Mr Ouko found that Baringo County paid Sh20,000 for a wooden meat chopping board and Sh54,000 for a pot stacking rack. The audit also raised questions on the construction of a cafeteria at the county assembly at a cost of Sh17 million.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr accused the anti-corruption commission of dismal performance. “Tell us why we should continue to have faith in you yet there is no big fish that you have nailed....this is why the public no longer have confidence in you,” Mr Kilonzo said.

“We get better news from the media than a commission that is well funded with lawyers and officers well-grounded in investigating matters”.

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