BROKE COVID-19 RULES

Kingi protests arrest of Kilifi officers by EACC

Three officials bundled into an overcrowded car, disregarding social distancing protocols.

In Summary

• The governor faulted the EACC for contravening corruption and economic crimes law which requires officials are given time to deliver documents required.

•  Among the issues the investigators are questioning is the source of funding for the project.

Kilifi Covid-19 Complex
QUESTIONS: Kilifi Covid-19 Complex
Image: COURTESY

The Kilifi administration has formally written to the national government to protest the manner of arrest of its officers by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. 

Health executive Anisa Omar said three officers were bundled into an overcrowded car, disregarding social distancing protocols.  

Omar demanded that Kilifi county commissioner Magu Mutindika orders the quarantining of all the EACC and police officers involved in Wednesday’s arrests. 

Kilifi county secretary Arnold Mkare, chief officers Bilali Mazoya (Health), Alio Ibrahim (Medical Services) and Benjamin Kai (Finance) were arrested over a contract for building a hospital complex in the county. 

During the arrests, Madzoya and Ibrahim were driven off in a Mitsubishi Pajero while Mkare rode in a Ford Ranger double cabin pick up.

The detectives had five cars. They sought six officers. The fourth officer, Kai, presented himself to the EACC offices in Malindi.

The officers were arrested for allegedly failing to give EACC detectives documents on the construction of the multi-million medical complex at the Kilifi County Hospital.

EACC upper Coast regional manager Ignatius Wekesa said the officers will be released on a Sh100,000 bond each.

The operation was led by Wekesa and his Lower Coast counterpart Mutembei Nyaga.

The construction of the complex started in 2017 and the first phase is complete. It has since been converted to a Covid-19 isolation centre with a 150-bed capacity.

The investigators question the source of funding for the project and the award of the tender to Pharmaken Limited. 

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi said the complex was funded by the county and the World Bank. 

“The first phase cost well over Sh380 million. Not even a coin here came from any donor. In the second phase which is currently ongoing we will need over Sh300 million and out of that we received Sh150 million from the World Bank through the Kenya Urban Support Programme,” Kingi said. 

The governor faulted the EACC for contravening corruption and economic crimes law which requires officials are given time to deliver documents required.

“The EACC officers hand-delivered a letter to the county secretary on May 12 at around mid-day and said they will not leave the offices until they get the documents,” he said. 

The project was completed in 2017 and it was not possible to get files within such short notice. Most officers are currently working from home, Kingi said. 

“The procedure has always been they bring us a notice of about seven days with the documents they need then we photocopy the documents, paginate them, do an inventory and all the documents are countersigned by both the county government and the EACC,” the governor said. 

The EACC wanted documents for the construction, procurement of ward and ICU beds and ventilators for the complex.

(edited by o. owino)