EACC asks mall graft suspects to surrender

Monday, September 9th, 2019 00:00 |
Kisumu County Speaker Onyango Oloo is among suspects arrested in connection to the Sh4.1 billion Kisumu mall scam. Photo/PD/FILE

Anti-graft agency detectives were last evening searching for more suspects in the Sh4.1 billion tender for the construction of a multi-purpose mall in Kisumu.

Only eight of 33 suspects have been arrested and police say they are hunting down the missing ones.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chief executive Twalib Mbarak said they hope to have arrested all the suspects and arraigned this week. He asked them to surrender.

Among those who have already been arrested are John Zeyun Yang, one of the officials of a Chinese construction firm – Edermann Property Ltd, Kisumu County Speaker Onyango Oloo and Bobasi MP Innocent Obiri.

The move came after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji ordered their arrest over the construction of the Lake Basin Development Authority complex at Sh4.1 billion.

Also to be prosecuted are LBDA tender committee members Anthony Kisaka (CEO), Nelson Onyango, (production technologist) and Henry Odindo (quantity surveyor, Quantech), Emmanuel Milikau (architect, Symbion Kenya) and Moses Wekesa (consultant, Symbion Kenya).

Others are Fredrick Onyango (Chief Finance Officer), Eng Godfrey Mwangi, (Technical Service and Operation), Albert Omondi, (International Auditor LBDA) Teresia Ochaka (Supplies Officer) and Amelia Otono (Legal Officer). Sixteen other board members will also to be prosecuted.

The 33 and two private firms are accused of being involved in inflating the tender by Sh1.6 billion. The DPP accused Yang and his co-official Zhang Jing of bribing Oloo with Sh17 million and other benefits “by way of their apartments and shops in housing projects”.

Haji said investigations had shown the Speaker alongside a former chairman of the Finance and Establishment Committee of the LBDA board, George Odawa, were bribed to inflate the cost of the building on the outskirts of Kisumu  from Sh2.5 billion to Sh4.1 billion.

He said EACC received a complaint on July 28, 2015 that the construction cost for the mall had been inflated. Oloo was the board chairman at the time.

The DPP also accused Odawa of receiving Sh12 million from Edermann to ensure the contract was varied.

When the mall was under construction, Haji said LBDA irregularly approved additional scope of works in a meeting held on December 18 and 19, 2015, for additional sum of Sh620 million for construction of a showroom, tyre centre and a three-star hotel.

Further, the board allegedly approved a loan of Sh1.3 billion from Cooperative Bank by the contractor, hence enhancing the borrowing to Sh2.5 billion, despite the fact that the contractor had promised to finance 80 per cent of the project. Consequently, a deed of variation was signed by then.

LBDA managing director Peter Abok and Oloo are accused of varying the amount from Sh2.5 billion to Sh3.8 billion on February 17, 2015 without the approval and concurrence of the National Treasury.

This, Haji said, constituted a 57 per cent variation against the prescribed 25 per cent under the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulations 2013.

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