‘Cleaner paid Sh26m’ in shocking Samburu scam

Kinyuru Munuhe and Bernard Gitau @PeopleDailyKe

Fresh details of shocking financial obscenities and fiscal carnage surrounding the embezzlement of Sh2 billion by Samburu county by officials have emerged. 

In one astonishing deal, a cleaner was told to register a firm into whose account a whooping Sh26million was promptly deposited as she joined a list of favoured allies, county officials and relatives with proximity to the centre of power who have been linked to the looting of Sh2 billion. 

In the plunder that reads more like fiction and features top cats—Governor Moses Lenolkulal, senior county staffers and friends— a subordinate staffer in the department of Agriculture was asked to register a company into whose account the cash was poured.

A report from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) details how county staff, in an incestuous dealing engaged with the county government receiving a total of Sh673 million while another substantial share of Sh970 million paid to companies for services allegedly not rendered went to senior county employees as kickbacks.

The revelation comes a day after EACC detectives raided and searched the homes of Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal in both Samburu and Nairobi. He later recorded a statement with EACC detectives at Integrity Centre.   

The governor yesterday pledged full cooperation with detectives but insisted the transactions were done above board and that documents would be provided to prove it. He, however, said in case any fiddling is proved, those fingered would have to carry their cross.    

EACC officers investigating the theft pointed to a series of suspicious expenditures as they continued to comb through homes and offices of suspects for evidence.   

Other officials targeted include directors and contractors from diverse companies suspected to have conspired to swindle cash belonging to the county.    

Speaking in Maralal, the headquarters of Samburu county, Lenolkulal called for speedy completion of investigations even as EACC sleuths linked him to Sh73.9 million allegedly paid to his petrol station.

“During the period various companies were paid Sh970,062,482 for various contracts out of which they paid sh86,290,105 in bribes to senior county staff, ” an EACC report reads in part.

The plot involved some county officials registering companies that were subsequently awarded contracts worth over Sh700 million but with no service being rendered.

An official in the governor’s office received Sh20.4 million paid to his two firms. 

A leading official in the county Legislature traded with the Executive at the expense of heading the oversight arm, pocketing Sh6.8 million through a firm. 

Three County Assembly Members reportedly received Sh27.8 m, Sh1.1 million and Sh1.5 million respectively while an official from  the  health department received Sh346 million and another from same department got Sh18.8 m.

A former legislator (Sh13.6 million), PA to a top County Assembly official (Sh16.4 million), PA to former Assembly official (Sh24.3 million), an accountant, (Sh4 million) joined the looting bandwagon.

Others were senior officials from count Finance (Sh7.4 million), Lands (Sh41.3 million), another from Finance (Sh2 million), a revenue official (Sh42.2 million) a subordinate staff in the department of Agriculture (Sh 25.5 million), a Payroll staffer (Sh 6 million) and an official from Roads (Sh365, 000). An ICT official got Sh21.7 million from a firm whose director had been paid Sh60.2 million.

EACC said their investigations proved the money was withdrawn in cash and shared among county officials.

On bribery by companies to county employees, the report revealed that Sh970 million was credited to 13 companies for various projects with Sh86.3 million paid as bribes to county staffs from firms undertaking engineering, construction, general supplies.

According to the investigations, 36 other county officials shared out Sh86.3 million in kickbacks after contractors were awarded tenders worth Sh1 billion for works partly done or not done at all.   

Should he be arrested, Lenolkulal will join a list of governors facing graft charges after Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong was last year in July over Sh20 million fraud allegations.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has urged Parliament to amend the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act to bar public officers charged with corruption from holding offices and earning salaries.

Haji said public officials continuing to hold office on full pay and benefits after being charged in court undermined the cause of justice.

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