Ouko Sh20m bribe talks with staff stall


Auditor-General Edward Ouko. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Auditor-General Edward Ouko is yet to settle a labour suit filed an audit manager, who was interdicted over a Sh20 million bribery claim, filed.

When the matter came up for mention at the Labour Court in Nyeri, Justice Nzioki wa Makau heard that the out-of-court talks started last November are yet to be concluded.

Mr Ouko’s lawyer Milcah Ondek said the negotiation was still on and a settlement would be made. On November 5, the court allowed Mr Ouko’s application to be granted two months to negotiate with the manager, Mr Raphael Muigai Ikame.

The court halted the hearing of the case to allow the parties to try the alternative dispute resolution mechanism.

Mr Ikame filed the suit after the Auditor-General’s office interdicted him on accusations of soliciting a Sh20 million bribe from Kirinyaga County officials to alter audit findings for the financial year 2016/17.

He was the audit manager in charge of Nyeri and Kirinyaga.

The judge ordered Thursday Mr Ouko against taking any adverse action against Mr Ikame pending the negotiation process.

Mr Makau also said an order he issued on November 1 lifting the interdiction remains in force. The judge added that if the two parties resolve the dispute they should record the consent and file it in court. The case will be mentioned next month on February 11, for further directions.

According to court documents, Mr Ikame led a team of eight officers on November 15, 2017, to audit Kirinyaga County’s 2016/17 financial records.

The interdiction letter says he demanded a bribe during a meeting on January 19, 2018, at Edge Wood Hotel on Thika-Gatanga road.

He was also accused of summoning contractors and suppliers in the county and threatened to blacklist them if they did not part with the bribe.

“You summoned former county executive committee members, chief officers and directors of Kirinyaga to appear before you, with a threat. You had been sent by the current administration (governor) to investigate alleged mismanagement of funds,” the letter says.

However, Mr Ikame said — through lawyer Kithinji Marete — his interdiction on March 29, 2018, was irregular and illegal.

He accused Mr Ouko of infringing on his constitutional rights. Mr Marete said his client has never been found culpable of any wrongdoing for the 22 years he has worked at the Office of the Auditor General, formerly the Kenya National Audit Office.