Ex-National Museums boss Mzalendo Kibunjia arrested over Sh490m payment to ghost workers

Former National Museums of Kenya Director General Mzalendo Kibunja.

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has arrested former National Museums of Kenya Director General Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia over the alleged embezzlement of Sh490 million in the form of payment to ghost workers.

EACC Deputy Director Corporate Affairs and Communication Eric Ngumbi confirmed that Dr Mzalendo was among the individuals being held in custody at the EACC Integrity Centre Police station awaiting to be produced to court on Tuesday.

The three others include Mr Oliver Okinyi Rabuor ICT officer, Payroll section, Mr Wyclif Odhiambo Ongata the accountant and Oscar Mwaura who was the ghost employee recruiter.

They are alleged to have embezzled public funds through irregular payment of salaries to ghost employees which were later transferred to senior officials.

“Upon conclusion of investigations the commission submitted the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions who concurred with the commission's recommendations to charge the suspects,” said Mr Ngumbi who was addressing journalists in Nakuru.

According to the officers, the four will be charged with various offences relating to corruption including conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption contrary to section 47 a (3), abuse of office, unlawful acquisition of public property and acquisition of proceeds of crime.

They will also face other counts of money laundering and financial misconduct charges.

One suspect, Mr Stanvas Ongalo Opijah, who was the director of human resources and administration is yet to be arrested and has been directed to report to the EACC headquarters.

At the same time, the commission has summoned former Muranga governor Mwangi Wa Iria, his spouse Jaine Waigwe Kimani and six others to appear before its quarters in Nairobi over allegations of procurement irregularities that led to the misappropriation of Sh 140 million public funds.

The eight are said to have been involved in the irregular award of tenders by the county government of Muranga to a company identified as Top Image Media Consultancy Limited during the financial year 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.

The six others are Patrick Kagumu Mukuria (former County secretary) jane Wanjiru Mbuthia(Director of Top Image Media Consultancy Ltd) David Maina Kiama (Director) David Maina Njeri (Director) Solomon Mutura Kimani(Director Vale View Limited and Peter Muturi Karanja (Personal Assistant to the former governor.

The eight will be charged with five counts including, abuse of office, unlawful acquisition of public property, dealing with suspect property and money laundering.

"The commission hereby directs all the above-named persons to report to EACC headquarters or the nearest EACC regional office by Tuesday, April 16 at 8 am without fail," stated Mr Ngumbi.