What you need to know:
- EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak singled out eight employees of the Turkana County government who have continued to report to work yet they are facing abuse of office charges at an Eldoret court in Uasin Gishu County.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has warned public officers who continue reporting to work despite facing criminal charges in court, saying they risk punitive sanctions.
EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak singled out eight employees of the Turkana County government who have continued to report to work yet they are facing abuse of office charges at an Eldoret court in Uasin Gishu County.
The eight are jointly accused of conspiracy to defraud Turkana of Sh42.56 million meant for the supply of a fire truck, which had not been delivered to the county five years after the payment was made.
Instead of abiding by High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi’s ruling that public officers charged in court over crimes should step aside until their cases are heard and determined.
“The commission has come to the understanding that the suspended employees have continued to flout the court ruling with impunity by reporting to work as if nothing happened,” Mr Twalib said.
“We shall deal with them as per the law; in a manner they have never witnessed before,” he added.
The eight public officers include Joseph Namuar (chief officer, finance), Richard Oboo (director of procurement), Mark Ewoi (chief officer, Lands) and Francis Edapal (deputy director, supply chain management).
The others are Lomoe Shakespear (supply chain management officer), Peter Lobali (accountant), Apalia Ekakoron (director of revenue) and James Ekaran (accountant).
They are accused of unlawful acquisition of public property contrary to the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.
The tender was awarded to Winston International Limited, whose directors Mohamed Akran Khan and Naweed Akram Khan have also been charged in court with engaging in fraud.
The two directors are accused of engaging in a fraudulent procurement practice by misrepresenting the financial capacity of their company to Turkana for the supply of the fire engine, well aware that the company did not have the capacity to supply the truck.
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Mr Naweed is said to have had Sh20.18 million, as a 50 per cent advance payment for the supply of the fire fighting truck, deposited to the company’s account at Kenya Commercial Bank in Nairobi on November 30, 2016,” said the EACC boss.
“When you are told by lawful authorities to refrain from accessing your office for the smooth running of your case, kindly do so. If you don’t comply, we will deal with you as required.”
Mr Namuar is facing several counts including unlawfully approving an advance payment of Sh21.28 million to Winston International limited for the supply of the engine.
Mr Oboo, who is also facing several counts, is on the spot for failing to ensure compliance with the Public Procurement and Disposal Act before the tender was awarded.
He is also accused of engaging in a project without prior planning, contrary to the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, by failing to appoint a tender evaluation committee.
Several leaders affected
In her landmark ruling of July 2019, Justice Ngugi averred that public officers including governors charged in court over corruption, should refrain from accessing their public offices.
The ruling also stated that their roles be taken over by their deputies for the period of the trial.
The ruling has seen Governors Okoth Obado (Migori), Ali Korane (Garissa) and Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu), and a host of principal secretaries, among others, blocked from accessing their official offices until their abuse of office cases are concluded.
Prior to their impeachment by their respective county assemblies, former governors Mike Sonko (Nairobi) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) had also been blocked from accessing their offices over corruption cases.
Section 62 (6) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, which insulated a holder of a constitutional office who is charged with a corruption-related offence from removal, was declared unconstitutional by Justice Ngugi in the case against Governor Lenolkulal.