Ex-MP Elizabeth Ongoro, husband charged afresh with embezzling Sh43m

Former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro

Former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro.She has been charged, alongside her husband, with embezzling Sh43 million from Kasarani Constituency Development Fund.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Former Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro has been charged afresh with embezzling Sh43 million from the Kasarani Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Ms Ongoro was charged alongside her husband Ferdinand Masha Kenga before Milimani anti-corruption court Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko for allegedly misappropriating money earmarked for the construction of Kasarani Girls High School.

The couple were charged alongside eight others.

They are alleged to have committed the offence between May 2008 and December 31, 2012 in Nairobi County.

The other accused are Mr James Dola, Mr Silvan Onyango, Ms Pamela Achola, Mr William Ogutu of Nyangina Enterprises, Mr Maurice Odhiambo of Komala Constructions, Ms Jecinta Opondi and Accurate Construction and Engineering Works Limited.

The magistrate was urged to maintain previous bond terms.

Cash bail of Sh3 million was retained for each of the accused persons.

The suspects were charged afresh after the trial court allowed the prosecution to adduce more evidence and call seven more witnesses.

On April 12, after analysing submissions from prosecutors and objections from the defence, the magistrate allowed the presentation of more evidence and the calling of more witnesses.

"I find the [Director of Public Prosecutions’] application to produce more evidence and present a fresh charge against the suspects is merited and I accordingly allow it as prayed," the magistrate ruled.

The DPP had told the trial magistrate that he wanted to add new documents and seven more witnesses and amend the charge sheet.

Prosecutors argued that the request was prompted by the unearthing of new documents that had not been obtained or were being acquired when the case commenced.

The fresh evidence is now in their custody.

“The documents are crucial, relevant and substantial for the just and fair determination of the case,” the prosecutor said.

Amending the charge sheet, he said, was lawful and would not prejudice the rights of the accused.

The additional documentary evidence includes letters to the Auditor-General and the chief land registrar dated January 2018.

Others are letters to the Registrar of Companies, Mathare North location senior chief, sub-county director of education and National CDF Board CEO dated August 2019, and one from the Ministry of Education.

The court heard that when the evidence was reviewed, it became necessary to amend the charge sheet and remove some accused persons.

In the previous case, the accused were charged with embezzling public funds amounting to Sh48.9 million from the CDF meant for the high school project.

In an affidavit, Nancy Chechieng, an investigator with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, said if their request is allowed, they do not intend to recall any witnesses who testified previously in the matter but will proceed with the remaining ones.

The case will be heard on June 27.