Panic among staff as EACC starts lifestyle audit in Siaya, Kisumu and Vihiga

EACC officials in Siaya

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officials during the rollout of asset recovery in Siaya County after completion of investigations into misappropriation of funds to the tune of billions of shillings. 

Photo credit: Kassim Adinasi | Nation Media Group

The anti-corruption watchdog is starting a lifestyle audit on county and national government officials in Kisumu, Siaya and Vihiga counties.

The target is employees living beyond their known means of income.

The move comes at a time several county officials in Siaya are on the spot over loss of billions of shillings in the past few years.

Some of the officials being investigated are county executive members, chief officers, county directors and senior officers working in government parastatals who have become millionaires overnight.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Western region manager, Mr Abraham Kemboi, said a lifestyle audit is supported by section 55 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, which demands that all state and public officers must at all times be able to account for their wealth or lifestyle.

“The commission will require them to explain their sources of wealth, failure to which they will forfeit them to the state,” said Mr Kemboi.

He argued that the move to carry out a lifestyle audit will deny the suspected individuals the opportunity to enjoy the ill-gotten wealth.

“It is a powerful tool in the fight against corruption. When you take back the stolen property from them, it kills their motivation to engage in corrupt conduct,” he added.

He went on: “Any disproportion with their known sources of wealth would lead to a conclusion that they own the proceeds of crime, and in most cases, the proceeds of corruption.”

The commission, he said, is in possession of several verifiable reports of some county and national government officials who are engaged in corrupt dealings, resulting in them accumulating unexplained wealth.

He disclosed that the commission is investigating financial mismanagement and procurement within the Kisumu County Assembly.

“Across the spectrum of the region, we are doing investigations in Siaya County and Vihiga. The lifestyle audit is based in the Western region, but we also assist

In 2016 former Governor Jack Ranguma invited the EACC and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to conduct a lifestyle audit on senior officials in his government.

The audit was meant to help in cleaning the county system to enable proper action taken against officers found in malpractices.

Meanwhile, in Siaya County the EACC is conducting a corruption risk assessment, as investigations go on into financial impropriety among the members of the executive.

The Nation spotlighted senior county administration officials over unexplained expenditures of about Sh406 million transacted within 12 days before the August elections.

In the questionable withdrawals, a whistle-blower revealed how Siaya MCAs gave themselves sitting allowances and per diems through the assembly’s General Oversight Committee in disregard of the law.

The Siaya County Government is on the EACC radar over alleged misappropriation of Sh600 million by officials in the previous administration and allegations of abuse of office and fraudulent acquisition of public funds amounting to Sh72 million in the installation of an intensive care unit at the county referral hospital.

There are also allegations of fraudulent acquisition of Sh400 million meant for the construction of a stadium.

Last year the commission arrested six senior officials of the County Government of Vihiga for various corruption offences.

In a statement, the commission said it undertook investigations following allegations of procurement irregularities and conflict of interest in the award of tenders for supply of toners and provision of capacity building and development of a risk management policy in Vihiga County.

The EACC said the government made a payment of Sh8,000,000 for capacity building, and the development of a risk management policy, in which services were not rendered.

The commission argued that the county government made a payment of Sh6,336,000 for toners that were not supplied.