All State procurement officials suspended

Anthony Mwangi and Nancy Gitonga @PeopleDailyKe

The fight against graft took a decidedly new dimension after the government suspended all procurement and accounting officers in ministries, departments, agencies and State corporations.

This happened even as 20 more suspects implicated in the Sh8 billion NYS scandal were yesterday charged in a Nairobi court with several graft offences.

NYS senior deputy director Nicholas Ochieng, Finance director Wellington Lubira and 18 others were arraigned before Milimani Anti- Corruption Court chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti.

They were charged with conspiracy to commit economic crimes, abuse of office, fraudulent acquisition of public property, approving payments of goods and services not supplied, and willful failure to comply with applicable procedures on guidelines relating to the management of public funds among other charges.

The suspension orders came three days after President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a directive during his Madaraka Day address that all procurement and accounting officers will be vetted afresh and be subjected to a polygraph test.

In a statement issued by Mwenda Njoka for the Government Spokesperson, the officers sent packing yesterday were asked to hand over to their immediate deputies before vacating office.

The officers will be required to submit personal information to the Office of the Head of the Public Service by this Friday. They should declare assets, liabilities and record of service.

“The same will be undertaken in a fair and objective manner, exercised with due care and regard to officers’ rights as enshrined in the Constitution,” the statement read in part.

“The President is committed to creating a public service that serves the needs and aspirations of Kenyans without taking undue advantage of officers to enrich or otherwise benefit themselves,” the statement added. The President indicated that the exercise was part of the raft of measures aimed at tackling corruption.

“Those who fail the vetting will stand suspended. I expect this exercise to be concluded before the start of the new Financial year (2018/19). You will hear of other tougher actions in days to come,” Uhuru said.

Elsewhere in Naivasha, heavily armed CID officers raided the home of the Ngirita family on Sunday evening in search of goods allegedly hidden underground.

The officers left a trail of destruction as they opened up manholes and sewer lines leaving members of the family whose kin are in custody over NYS scandal shaken.

At the same time, a Nairobi court has issued arrest warrants against two suspects alleged to be directors of Arkroad Holdings Limited after they failed to surrender to authorities as directed by the court last week.

Antony Makara and Peter Wagura were absent for unknown reasons, prompting a magistrate to issue the warrants following an application by assistant DPP Emily Kamau. The duo, alongside their company, faces charges of fraudulent acquisition of public property amounting to Sh24.8 million.

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