Haji targets 72 top State officers in fresh graft list

George Kebaso  @Morarak

The Office of Directorate of Public Prosecutions  (ODPP) is investigating 72 senior government officials over corruption claims. 

Director Noordin Haji said yesterday 17 Cabinet and Principal secretaries, two governors and five Members of Parliament are being probed over abuse of office allegations.  Others are 15 senior county officials and 33 senior National government officials suspected to be involved in graft.

Haji said in the last five years, his office has registered 508 corruption and economic crime cases involving 1,462 accused persons out of which a paltry 256 are ongoing.

Appearing before the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs committee together with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the two institutions blamed the Judiciary for the delay in conclusion of high-profile graft cases.“The ongoing cases involve very low bribery amounts to as high as Sh29 billion (Imperial Bank case) and Sh6 billion from the Anglo Leasing scandal,” he added.

He said since 2013,  252 cases have been concluded with 56 convictions, 97 acquittals and 99 cases withdrawn. Before Haji presented his report, the committee had put EACC on the spot for presenting statistics on prosecution of corruption cases without specific details of persons involved.

But chief executive Halakhe Waqo said details of those involved cannot be released to the public because of ongoing investigations or pending cases in court. “Yes we have given statistics without particulars because some of these matters are still with the Directorate of Criminal Prosecutions (DCI), DPP or some are pending before court. Waqo  said there are 394 asset recovery cases that are in court that have a value of Sh8 billion adding the war on corruption has been hampered by the numerous court orders issued to suspected corrupt individuals including governors.

“Literally every county is under investigations, but many governors have been securing court orders to stop or stall our processes.

“In the last three months alone, three orders have been discharged. We went to Meru court yesterday to start the trail of one governor who has been keeping us off through court orders,” he said without mentioning the targeted governor.

Waqo told the committee chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo that the EACC is frustrated with the slow court processes especially on corruption cases.

“From 2013 to date, a few cases have been concluded in court. We are more worried because from 2013, we have been engaging Chief Justices to help us fast track cases that have stalled because of numerous orders. Majority of governors are carrying court orders stalling investigations,” he said.

He said despite the slow court processes, the EACC has managed to secure conclusion of 44 cases out of which 35 were convictions and nine acquittals.

He said the commission has recovered assets worth Sh3.7 billion from 2013 to 2017. Assets worth Sh7.8 billion have been recovered as at yesterday.

“In the current year we recovered assets worth Sh7.8 which include value of money saved through disruptions.

“Some of this disruptions are in procurement budgets where schemes are hatched to steal. Some are in cash. Through the raids, we have been able to cancel tenders. In Land sector where assets are being stolen, we follow process all the way to the point of preparing ownership documents like titles,” he said.

He said this year alone EACC has disrupted grabbing of 37 acre piece of land belonging to Isiolo prisons.

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