The anti-corruption agency is investigating 17 Uasin Gishu MCAs for pocketing a total of Sh6.8 million on a fake benchmarking trip to Arusha, Tanzania.
An Eldoret Court Tuesday January 25 allowed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to open investigations that will involve obtaining certified copies of mobile phone transactions, mobile money transfer platform M-PESA statements, as well as location data of the MCAs between December 3 and 18, 2021, when they alleged to had made the trip.
EACC says each of the 17 ward representatives pocketed Sh400,000 for the fictitious trip.
EACC detectives led by Celestine Owiti have been investigating the incident since it was reported to their North Rift regional office in Eldoret last year.
While making an application before Eldoret Senior Principal Magistrate Naomi Wairimu, Ms Owiti told the court that she intends to investigate and lift certified copies of key mobile location data as well as money transaction records of the accused MCAs for the said dates.
The anti-graft agency launched investigations into the plunder of public funds by the ward reps following public outcry that some of the trips they claimed to have made were not legitimate and did not actually take place.
Detectives have already interrogated some of the senior finance officers at the county assembly.
EACC presented in court 17 mobile phone numbers, belonging to the accused members of the assembly, that would be subjected to the investigations of the alleged embezzlement of public funds.
“It is necessary that as EACC we be allowed to investigate transactions relating to the cell phone numbers during the said period and obtain certified copies of registration data,” Ms Owiti told the court.
The court issued the detectives with an order to continue with the said investigations.
The case will be mentioned on March 30.
A similar incident occurred in Nyeri county assembly a year ago where 49 MCAs and 20 other county officers were questioned by the anti-graft agency over an alleged trip which did not take place.
After interrogations the MCAs volunteered to refund the money as they sought to make peace with the EACC ahead of 2022 general election.