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The Kenya Forum | Taita Taveta County Government EACC Corruption Allegations - The Kenya Forum

March 11, 2024

Summary

Ksh7 million “bonding” tour to Marijani Hotel in Zanzibar…

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Taita Taveta County Government EACC Corruption Allegations

Taita Taveta County Government EACC Corruption Allegations

Investigations into allegations of Corruption, Procurement Irregularities and Embezzelement of Funds at Taita Taveta County Government during the Commemoration of World War 1 Celebrations that took place between 24th to 27th November, 2022.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) commenced investigation after receiving a complaint on 5th April, 2022, on allegations of corruption, procurement irregularities and embezzlement of funds at Taita Taveta County Government during the commemoration of World War 1 (WW1) celebrations that took place between 24th to 27th November, 2022.

Ksh4 Million not in budget, paid to officers

Investigations established that the Government of Taita Taveta County prepared budget estimates and a consolidated procurement plan for the Financial Year 2022/2023 but the commemoration event was not provided for in the budget.
Investigations further established that in respect to the World War I event the economic advisor and the Chief Officer Finance applied for imprest to facilitate the commemoration of the event.

Investigation established that the Taita Taveta County utilised Ksh4,048,000 through irregular Daily Subsistence Allowance paid to officers.

Single sourced suppliers, forged receipts

It was further established that during the process of preparation for the WWI event, the public officers engaged and or directly single sourced suppliers for various services without following the laid down procedures despite the fact that the County Government had a repository of registered suppliers and service providers for the financial year 2022/2024.

The suppliers that were engaged directly included Kazi Ngoma Orchestra band, Elbon Agencies, Banane North Explorer’s Limited, Voi Wildlife Lodge, Kididi FM a commercial radio station, Tree Top Eatery, Pen and Paper Solutions, Gracious Tents and Sounds and Alconsup Solution Limited.

Investigations established that the receipts that were attached to the surrender documents were forgeries and were not actually issued by the purported entities.

Recommendations to charge

On 14th December, 2023 a report was compiled and forwarded to the DPP with recommendations to charge the Economic Advisor to the Governor, County Secretary, County Chief Officer in charge of Trade, Tourism and Co-operatives Development with the following offences:

(a) Conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption contrary to section 47a as read with section 48 of the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act, No. 3 of 2003;

(b) Engaging in a project without prior planning contrary to section 45 (2) (c) as read together with section 48 of the Anti- corruption and Economic Crimes Act, No. 3 of 2003Unlawful acquisition of public property contrary to section 45 (1) (a) as read with section 48 (1) of the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003;

(c) Six counts of uttering false documents contrary to section 353 of the Penal Code Cap 63 laws of Kenya’;

(d) Willful failure to comply with the applicable procedures and guidelines relating to incurring of expenditures contrary to section 45 (2) (b) as read with section 48 (1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.

On 5th February, 2024, the DPP returned the inquiry file with recommendations for further investigations.

That’s not all – further allegations of corruption involving Taita Taveta County Assembly

Investigations into allegations of Corruption and Misappropriation of Public Funds at Taita Taveta County Assembly as a result of imprest advanced to the Speaker of the County Assembly, a clerk, 21 Members of the County Assembly and four other officers for traveling to Zanzibar for a ‘Bonding Trip’ in the Financial Year 2022/2023

Funded “bonding tour” trip to Zanzibar

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) commenced investigation after receiving a complaint on 28th November, 2022 on allegation of embezzlement of public funds against staff of the County Assembly of Taita Taveta.

It is alleged that the Speaker, a Clerk, 21 Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) and four other officers incurred an expenditure of around Ksh7 million without following proper guidelines with regard to the edicts of the law on Public Finance at a bonding tour to Marijani Hotel in Zanzibar in November 2022 within the Financial Year 2022/2023.

Investigations established that members of the Liaison Committee and public officials of Taita Taveta County Assembly travelled to Zanzibar on an education tour. However, some delegates were paid excess per diem allowances which they were not entitled because accommodation had been provided while others were paid yet they had not travelled for various reasons.

World Scout Parliamentary Union (WSPUK)

The procurement process was not properly followed in regard to sourcing of the service provider being the World Scout Parliamentary Union (WSPUK) who would offer the catering and training facilities for the delegates. WSPUK was single sourced and directly engaged for the educational trip to Zanzibar. Investigation established that the procurement threshold was way above KSh500,000 and therefore it ought to have been reported to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority by the Accounting Officer.

Investigation further established that the Clerk of Taita Taveta County Assembly, authorised payment vouchers for full daily subsistence allowance to the delegates whilst knowing that the delegates were not entitled to full daily subsistence allowance since their accommodation had been catered for.

Ksh6 million lost

The investigation established that the Taita Taveta County Assembly had lost KSh6,181,433 through irregular DSA paid to officers.

The County Assembly initiated recoveries from the beneficiaries by deducting their salaries and some made cash deposits to Taita Taveta County Assembly Bank Account amounting to KSh2,215,550. The outstanding amount yet to be recovered is KSh3,943,033.

False travel documents

It was further established that the Accounting Officer during imprest surrender attached false travel clearance letters for delegates who had not travelled for various personal reasons. He further fraudulently authorised surrender of payment voucher of KSh8,037,599 purporting to have been fully accounted for yet it was not sufficiently supported by surrender documents.

Recommendations to charge

On 14th December, 2023 a report was compiled and forwarded to the DPP with recommendations to charge the Clerk/Accounting Officer and the Deputy Speaker of Taita Taveta County Assembly with the following offences:

(a) Three counts of Abuse of office contrary to section 46 as read with section 48 (1) of the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act, No. 3 of 2003;

(b) Uttering false documents contrary to section 353 of the Penal Code, Cap. 63 Laws of Kenya;

(c) False accounting by a public officer contrary to section 331 (1) and (2) of the Penal Code, Cap. 63 Laws of Kenya;

(d) Wilful failure to comply with the law applicable, regulations and guidelines relating to procurement, contrary to section 45 (2) (b) as read with section 48 (1) of Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act, No. 3 of 2003;

(e) Financial misconduct contrary to section 197(1) (i) as read with section 199 of the Public Finance Management Act, No. 18 of 2012;

On 1st February, 2024, the DPP returned the inquiry file and concurred with the Commission’s recommendation for prosecution.

Primary Source: The Kenyan Gazette

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