Former Nandi county officials to be arraigned

Friday, July 24th, 2020 00:00 |

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Former Nandi County Finance and Economic Planning chief officer Henry Koech and four other officials, including members of a tender committee, will today be arraigned in an Eldoret court over claims of misappropriating Sh20 million from the devolved unit.

The suspects also include Meshack Tankoi, Wilson Yebei, Henry Kirui and Leah Jelagat who have been accused of conspiring to defraud the county through dubious tenders.

Koech was kicked out of office by Governor Stephen Sang in August 2017, just a week after the county chief was sworn in what was said to be a move aimed at facilitating investigations over claims of possible theft of public money in the devolved unit.

Proceedings interference

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak said yesterday in a statement that the agency had gathered enough evidence linking the suspects to the presiding over and awarding of tender and payment to Makiki Agencies Ltd where Koech is a director.

The firm had been awarded a tender to supply water dispensers to the regional government as well as construction of roads.

“Investigations by EACC established that the then Chief Officer Finance and Economic Planning at the Nandi County Government authorised payments totaling Sh19,781,551 to Makiki Agencies Ltd, a company he owned,” Mbarak said in a statement.

Mbarak added: “The company had purportedly been contracted by the county to undertake upgrade of roads in the county.

The purported award was facilitated by the Head of Procurement and other county officials.”

The five were arrested by the anti-graft yesterday and booked at the Eldoret Police Station where they spent the night awaiting to be arraigned this morning.

Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji approved the arrest and prosecution of Koech who also served as the County Budget Officer on grounds of abuse of office, conflict of interest and fraudulent acquisition of public property against Koech.

Tonkoi, Yebei, Kirui and Jelagat have been accused of Deceiving Principal offence whereby they allegedly deliberately mislead their bosses in order to facilitate the awarding of the tender and payment as well as conspiracy to commit an offence of theft.

“Upon concluding investigations, EACC submitted the Investigation Report to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) pursuant to Section 35 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act”

The Director of Public Prosecution independently reviewed the recommendations therein and granted consent to immediately arrest and charge the suspects,” Twalib said in a statement to newsrooms last evening.

Governor Sang while suspending Koech and Tankoi who he replaced with Yebei, also a suspect in the theft claims, said the changes were aimed at facilitating a special audit into the financial status of the county government following claims that money had been lost due to their actions.

Sang was the area senator since 2013 before clinching the gubernatorial position in 2017.

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