Kenya Confidential Courts Reporter, Nyeri, September 26, 2016
Nearly every county in the country has numerous cases of corruption involving Governors, County executives or the Members of County Assembly (MCAs)
A Nyeri court has sentenced three former County officials to three years imprisonment or a Ksh7.9 million fine for failing to adhere to procurement laws. Chief Magistrate John Oyiengo has written history by imposing a fine of twice the amount of money involved in the corrupt deals involving the County executives thereby actualizing recovery of public funds.
John Maina (CEC in charge of Lands and infrastructure), Martin Wamwea (Finance) and Chief of Staff Simon Wachira were jailed by the Chief Magistrate Oyiengo of Anti-Corruption court. Nairobi County chief of staff George Wainaina is facing corruption charges instituted in January in a Nairobi court
The Nyeri executives were accused of irregular awarding of a tender worth Ksh10 million of which they will serve three years in jail in default of the hefty fines. The charges fall under economic crimes involving irregular awarding of tenders and abuse of office.
- Maina was accused of irregularly awarding a contract for consultancy on audit services to Pleng Kenya through direct procurement without the approval of the County Tender Committee.
- His counterpart, Wamwea, was charged with abuse of office for allegedly authorising processing of ksh3, 756, 962.37 as payment to Pleng Kenya Ltd without the necessary supporting documents.
- Wachira was on the other hand charged with two counts of failing to comply with procurement laws and improper use of public office.
The prosecution produced eight witnesses in the case.
In the judgment, the court ruled that each of the accused will in addition each pay a fine of Ksh400, 000 or one year in prison, with the court saying the sentences should run concurrently.
The court observed that the process of awarding the tender was unprocedural and illegal since the Tender Secretariat was not involved and that the reasons as to how the amount was arrived at were not explained.
In his defence, Maina admitted that there was no competitive bidding adding that he was following orders from the County Governor. The procurement Act was violated by single sourcing. Despite getting orders from the governor law must have been followed.
There was nothing urgent with getting audit services which are done annually. The CEC should have known the directives were illegal,” the magistrate declared.
Wamwea defended himself saying he was not concerned with procurement processes. The magistrate noted that Wamwea, being the overall accounting officer in the County, should have asked for supporting documents of awarding the contract.
“His explanation that he was not concerned with procurement is untenable. He willfully failed to comply with the law and he should have known he was endorsing illegal payments,” the magistrate noted.
The magistrate, however, acquitted all the accused persons of the second count of abuse of office, saying the prosecution could have listed it as an alternative count. He noted that though the accused persons were remorseful, the country is losing a lot of funds through Corruption – thus the sentence.
In mitigation, the accused persons through lawyer Edward Oonge, unsuccessfully prayed for non-custodial sentences arguing that they had consistently attended the proceedings. The lawyer also said the accused had families which solely depended on them.
Money that could dig numerous boreholes for human and animal water squandered on Mandera County executives
The executives should have known their families are more important than the money they conspired to rob the public. Nearly every county in the country has numerous cases of corruption involving Governors, County executives or the Members of County Assembly (MCAs).
Governors have been engaged in hundreds of millions of shillings corrupt deals that they cover by compromising MCAs with unlawful allowances and foreign trips or corruption investigations agencies. Many MCAs have been involved in false allowance claims amounting to hundreds of millions when vital medical staff go without salaries for as long as six months.
Counties that for years are considered to have been marginalized have governors behaving and living as if they are Princes of the Shah of Iran sitting on petrodollars. Many are as extravagant with public cash as are drug dealers with hosts of sex workers. Their populations languish in hunger without water while they hop around in helicopters and blame the central government for not providing water in a devolved system of government where ignorant citizens have yet to understand their leaders are looting public coffers.