Seth Onyango @SethManex
An explosive affidavit has exposed anti-corruption czar Halakhe Waqo as an alleged suspect in phase one scandal at the National Youth Service (NYS) where millions were lost.
The affidavit now puts the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on the spot over its effectiveness to fight corruption following the latest accusations that some of its senior officials have been interfering in cases with a view to protecting “big fish.”
Documents submitted in court indicate Waqo pocketed Sh300 million proceeds of NYS, partly to conceal evidence about the masterminds of the heist, who were subsequently acquitted.
Adan Guracha, the officer in Department of Intelligence and Operations at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) swore the affidavit in what highlights the depth of morass in the criminal justice system.
As the lead detective in the scam, Guracha revealed he stumbled on sensitive information linking Waqo to the NYS scandal in 2015/16 in which he accuses him of bungling investigations.
Details about Waqo’s alleged hand in the scam surfaced during an internal lifestyle audit in which he invested proceeds of NYS in a six-storey building in Isiolo Town.
Subsequently, the EACC CEO is said to have directed Guracha not to continue investigating the NYS scandal with dire consequences if he chose otherwise.
New revelations come as it emerged other top officials at the EACC have been involved in massive concealment of crucial evidence in a bid to shield top shots in government from prosecution.
It is on that premise that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji returned most of the case files to the anti-graft agency, asserting they did not meet prosecution thresholds.
Sources at the DPP’s office have hinted to the People Daily that among the files returned to the EACC included that on the purchase and compensation for Ruaraka government land, and two other cases involving Homa Bay and Migori County governments.
In the Ruaraka land, EACC big shots are accused of having tempered with evidence in order to protect a Cabinet Secretary implicated while the same officials are understood to have attempted to shield two senior officials in Migori and Homa Bay counties from prosecution.
Apparently, the detectives have plucked some pages from the documents containing evidence on the accused including a Cabinet Secretary and several governors.
While appearing in the Senate, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji told the legislators that evidence submitted to his office could not sustain any conviction.
“It is not that there is no case, there is. But what I need is evidence so I can prosecute,” he said. He vowed not to pursue the cases until they met the required thresholds.
At the same time, Guracha claimed that he was told to discontinue investigations into the fraudulent compensation of the Lamu coal-fired power generation project in 2017.
“When he tabled information linking a company called Dido and Sons Ltd to the fraudulent compensations, where it received over a hundred million Kenya Shillings, the 2nd Respondent (Waqo) who receives benefit through the said company, intimidated and threatened the claimant to stop his assignment and directed to handle other cases,” read the affidavit in part.
Waqo also reportedly terminated investigations into alleged tax evasion in the importation of sugar by a company linked to him.
“The Claimant was involved in conducting investigations into Sugar import tax evasion in August/September 2017 by two Container Freight Stations namely Interpel and Focus both owned by businessman Feisal Abas, who is a business partner and associate of the 2nd Respondent,” Guracha said in the affidavit.
He alleged the sugar tax evasion involved two vessels Georgios P&Skelt carrying 39,600 metric tonnes and 33,000 metric tonnes of Sugar respectively which docked on August 2, 2017.
“The 2nd Respondent could not allow the Claimant to continue with investigations since he was directly a beneficiary of tax evasion.
The second respondent summoned the claimant the following day from Mombasa and upon arrival at Nairobi office, handed him dismissal letter. The investigations over sugar import tax evasion were never carried out to their logical conclusion,” he said.
It is after these developments that Waqo fired Guracha without giving him an opportunity to show cause in the tribunal.
“The claimant avers that he was unlawfully terminated for initiating and conducting investigations under his mandate that implicated the 2nd Respondent,” said Guracha.
“The respondents have never called the claimant to any single show cause tribunal hearing and the decision for summary dismissal is illegal, arbitrary, null and void,” he added.