Prisons cleaning supervisor embezzled Ksh 257 million for food he never supplied

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By Kenya Confidential Desk – Nairobi, April 19, 2022

In Brief:

  • Justice Esther Maina granted the order freezing the vehicles and property for six months, pending conclusion by EACC. She ordered Mutai to surrender seven cars valued at Ksh32 million to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission for seizing.
  • The freezing orders shall subsist for a period of six months to allow EACC complete investigations into the allegations of fraud and embezzlement of public funds, and to file a formal application for recovery of the public resources,” read the High Court ruling.
  • Court documents show that Mr Mutai was paid Ksh257 million between 2012 and 2016, for supplies allegedly made to the Prisons.
  • He is the sole proprietor of seven companies registered during the period and using the said companies, he got the funds allegedly through a fictitious supply of food and ration to the department of Corrections.

 

A court has frozen properties of a Prisons Department cleaning supervisor accused of fraudulently pocketing Ksh257 million, as Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) investigators dig into an alleged Ksh450 million corruption scandal continue.

The High Court has also frozen land worth a quarter billion shillings and seven cars and a house in Nairobi worth Ksh17.5 million belonging to an official working at the Department of Correction Services suspected to have benefitted from tenders worth Ksh257 million between 2012 and 2016.

The EACC moved to freeze the property and cars belonging to Eric Kipkurui Mutai, saying they were purchased using proceeds of crime. Justice Esther Maina granted the order freezing the vehicles and property for six months, pending conclusion of investigations by EACC.

“The properties so purchased constitute proceeds of corrupt conduct or corruption which the Applicant is mandated to seek recovery or forfeiture of from the 1st Respondent (Mutai),” the EACC submitted.

There is no way Mutai could be paid all that money without corruption Prisons officials in accounts department and beyond.

EACC: Investigations take decades

Court documents show that Mutai was paid Ksh257 million between 2012 and 2016, for supplies allegedly made to the Prisons. He is the sole proprietor of seven companies registered during the period and using the said companies, he got the funds allegedly through a fictitious supply of food and ration to the Department of Corrections.

The companies include Unique Supplies, Homex Logistics enterprises and Hygienic Ventures. From the payments, Mutai allegedly purchased the parcels of land in Nyaribari Chache in Kisii County, Kipchimchim in Kericho County and another property in Nairobi.

He also acquired the seven top range motor vehicles, all valued at Ksh30 million. The most costly vehicle was Ksh6.8 million as per the court documents.

The EACC said investigations established that Mutai while not being authorised, obtained S13 forms used in procurement by the Department of Corrections which formed the basis of payments made, as they were attached to the payment vouchers.

He allegedly claimed to have supplied food and ration to seven prison facilities in Nairobi through his companies and although no supplies were made, money was wired to his bank accounts opened in 2016 and 2017. He later withdrew the money and purchased the said properties.

“That it is, therefore, necessary to preserve the properties for a period of six months as allowed by the law pending conclusion of investigations and institution or recovery proceedings,” EACC said.

The anti-corruption office told the court that between 2012 and 2016, the cleaning supervisor, who was paid Ksh 20,800 per month, had registered seven businesses and exploited them to embezzle taxpayers’ money under the pretence of delivering food.

Mutai collaborated with several top prisons officers to have his firms receive Ksh257 million without supplying anything, according to the commission’s counsel Diana Kenduiwa.

His companies were the conduits for embezzling the Ksh257 million through fictitious contracts for supply of food and ration to the State Department of Correctional Services when the goods were never supplied,” the lawyer argued in court.

Mutai purported to have supplied food and ration to seven prison facilities in Nairobi, but our investigations established no such goods were ever supplied. We discovered that his companies were registered between 2016 and 2017 for the sole purpose of receiving the funds,” Dorothy Mnjala, a forensic investigator added.

EACC has been undertaking investigations relating to public officers at the Department of Correctional Services, suspected to have fraudulently acquired approximately Ksh450 million on account of goods that were never supplied.

The court heard that Mutai might transfer or dispose of the property, rendering the intended case useless unless the preservation orders are issued. The case will be mentioned on October 25, to confirm the status of investigations.

Meanwhile, as it so happens in Kenya where investigations and court cases take decades, Mutai could see his ill-gotten wealth shrink as lawyers, prosecution and judicial officers dip their fingers into his jar of honey and the taxpayer, whose money was solen, will end up with an empty stomach.

All in all, CORRUPTION does not pay.