Full in-tray awaits Ingonga on corruption files pile-up

DPP nominee Renson Mulele Ingonga

Renson Mulele Ingonga, the nominee for the appointment as Director of Public Prosecutions, on August 31, 2023 when he appeared before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee for the interview at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Sh491.4 million ghost workers scandal at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) is part of a packed in-tray that is awaiting the incoming director of public prosecutions (DPP), Mr Renson Ingonga.

He will be sworn into office by President William Ruto next week after MPs approved his nomination to replace Mr Noordin Haji, who was appointed the National Intelligence Service director-general.

Mr Ingonga will tackle the NMK fraud allegations, which is among 22 files forwarded by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to the DPP’s office between April 1 and June 30, where 17 are awaiting the DPP’s advice.

Among the 17 files is alleged fraud at the NMK where EACC disclosed that the government entity lost Sh491.4 million paid to some 105 ghost workers between May 2016 and April 2022.

The file was referred to the DPP on May 5 this year where the EACC recommended the prosecution of former NMK Director-General Mzalendo Kibunja as well as human resources director and acting Director-General Stanvas Ongalo. Others are Mr Oliver Rabuor and Mr Wycliffe Ongata, both in the payroll office. They wee accused of unlawful acquisition of public property, conspiracy to commit an economic crime, abuse of office, acquisition of proceeds of crime, money laundering, and financial misconduct.

EACC also wants the Sh491.4 million recovered from the suspects. Other files forwarded and still awaiting advice are an inquiry into allegations of the irregular award of a tender for fencing the Kenya Wildlife Service compound and staff quarters in Tana River County on June 12.

EACC has also forwarded a file on an inquiry into the allegations of conflict of interest in the award of tenders worth Sh50 million to companies owned by the family of a former governor between 2018 and 2019. The file was forwarded on May 3, recommending charges of abuse of office, conflict of interest and unlawful acquisition of public property.

There is also the inquiry into allegations of irregular award of contracts for the implementation of the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project and subsequent payment of Sh18,499,082,672 to Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited.

The money was paid by various government agencies between 2005 and 2019. The file was forwarded to the DPP on June 5, recommending charges including conspiracy to commit economic crime, abuse of office and fraudulent acquisition.

Further, there was a file on the allegations of procurement irregularities and loss of public funds through payment for non-existing workers in the construction of a blood transfusion centre by the Vihiga County government.

Investigations established that the tender was for Sh17 million while the appropriated amount in the approved budget was Sh9 million. 

A report was compiled and forwarded to the DPP on May 3, recommending that the suspects be charged with conspiracy to commit an offence of economic crime and abuse of office, among others.