Government officials jailed over corruption
27 September 2016, 11:48
Nairobi - Three top Nyeri County Government officials have been fined KES 7.9 million each, in default serve three years in prison for flouting procurement laws and irregular awarding of a tender worth KES 10 million.
John Maina the Executive Secretary in charge of Lands and infrastructure, Martin Wamwea (Finance) and Chief of Staff Simon Wachira were handed the sentence by Chief Magistrate John Oyiengo of Anti-Corruption court.
They were charged with economic crimes charges involving irregular awarding of tenders and abuse of office.
Maina was accused of irregularly awarding a contract for consultancy of audit services to Pleng Kenya through direct procurement without the approval of the County Tender Committee.
His counterpart, Wamwea was charged with abuse of office for allegedly authorising processing of KES 3,756,962.37 as payment to Pleng Kenya Ltd without the necessary supporting documents.
Wachira was charged with two counts of failing to comply with procurement laws and improper use of public office.
The prosecution provided eight witnesses in the case.
In the judgement, the court ruled that each of the accused persons should pay twice the amount of money that was lost in the offence or serve two years in prison.
Further, they were each ordered to pay a fine of KES 400,000 or serve one year in prison, with the court saying the sentences should run concurrently.
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The court observed that the process of awarding the tender was unprocedural and illegal since the Tender Secretariat was skipped.
In his defence, Maina admitted that there was no competitive bidding adding that he was following orders from the County Governor.
“The procurement Act was flawed by single sourcing. Despite getting orders from the governor law must have been followed. There was nothing urgent with getting audit services which are done annually. The CEC should have known the directives were illegal,” the court noted.
Wamwea defended himself that he was not concerned with procurement processes.
The magistrate noted that Wamwea, being the overall accounting officer in the County, should have asked for supporting documents of awarding the contract.
“His explanation that he was not concerned with procurement is untenable. He willfully failed to comply with the law. He should have known he was endorsing illegal payments,” court said.
The magistrate, however, acquitted all the accused persons of abuse of office charges saying the prosecution could have listed it as alternative count.
He noted that though the accused persons were remorseful, the country is losing a lot of funds through illegal activities, thus the sentence.
In mitigation, the accused persons through lawyer Edward Oonge unsuccessfully prayed for non-custodial sentences arguing that they had consistently attended the proceedings.
The lawyer also said the accused had families which solely depended on them.
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