Anti-corruption detectives are seeking to establish how a 36-year-old junior employee at the Ministry of Environment on a net monthly salary of Sh32,000 earned Sh80 million.
Mr Samuel Kariuki Njoroge, a finance officer in Job Group K has been irregularly receiving large sums of money from the ministry, amounting to nearly Sh80 million.
Detectives want to know how he spent more than Sh50 million that was allegedly stolen from some accounts at the state department between January 2019 and this year.
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives interrogated him on Tuesday at their head office in Nairobi, but insisted that they had not arrested him.
According to an affidavit filed by the commission at the anti-corruption court in Nairobi, Mr Njoroge has received a sum of Sh79,763,944 into his Equity bank account in separate tranches from the ministry's Integrated Financial Management and Information Systems (Ifmis) account over a period of three years.
Purchase of snacks
The detectives have established that some of the amounts were irregularly paid to Mr Njoroge’s account as payment for purchase of snacks.
Between March 2019 and March 2022, Mr Njoroge received a total of Sh3,991,300 for purchase of snacks from the ministry’s Ifmis account, but there were no withdrawals made from the account.
The amount was sent to his account in three tranches dated March 8, 2022, December 22, 2020 and September 9, 2020. On those dates, the suspect received Sh485,000, Sh465,000 and Sh437,000 respectively.
He, however, only withdrew Sh143,000 and Sh57,350 after the last two deposits were made.
As of Tuesday morning, his account was holding Sh22,467,999, prompting detectives to seek orders to freeze the funds for a period of six months in a bid to prevent further loss as investigations continue.
According to court documents, investigations by the commission further established that the suspect applied for imprest worth Sh6,562,865 from the ministry’s Ifmis account and the funds were deposited to his account on various dates in July last year.
His account further received Sh1,240,895 between March and April this year, but there were no withdrawals from it.
Bank account balance
Having established that the suspect’s salary is not proportionate to his bank account balance, the commission concluded that the funds might have been obtained through corrupt conduct.
“That is reasonably suspected that the credit deposits are proceeds of corruption which are public funds whose monies are amenable to forfeiture to the state,” states the affidavit signed by a detective from the commission.
To prevent possible transfers or loss of the funds, the commission further obtained orders to preserve a parcel of land and motor vehicles for a period of six months pending the conclusion of the investigations and institution of recovery proceedings.
The commission is also seeking to establish the suspect’s accomplices and the roles they played in transferring the funds to his personal account.
Additionally, it is seeking to establish the multiplicity of the transactions and the possible numerous illegal acts or offences involved.
Last week, the corruption watchdog obtained orders to have properties worth Sh87 million belonging to an employee of the Prisons department frozen as part of its investigations in his acquisition of more than Sh250 million through fictitious contracts for supply of food and rations.
According to the agency, Mr Mutai offered various services to Prisons through his companies namely; Unique Suppliers, Homex Logistics Enterprises and Hygienic Ventures.
The shocking revelations of how public officials are embezzling public funds may imply that the country is losing its grip on the corruption war but the latest dispatch by Corruption Risk Index shows that Kenya’s performance is improving.
The 2022 forecast rates Kenya with Liberia, Morocco, Spain, Vietnam and Burkina Faso as some of the nations whose control of corruption is improving.
Countries listed among the nations that are losing their grip on the war against corruption include Zambia, Egypt, Russia and Ethiopia.