WAR AGAINST BRIBERY

Two Nairobi officers fined Sh1m each for colluding to defraud City Hall

Governor Mike Sonko urges public and county officials to strictly follow the law when executing duties

In Summary

• A Milimani court finds Esther Thongori, George Karume and Bonny Oduor guilty of conspiring to commit an economic crime.

• The three received and retained the amount for building plans.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at the Nairobi International Trade Fair in Jamhuri Grounds on October 1, 2019
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at the Nairobi International Trade Fair in Jamhuri Grounds on October 1, 2019
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Two Nairobi county officers and a businessman have been fined Sh1 million each l for colluding to defraud the county government.

On Thursday, a Milimani court found Esther Thongori, George Karume and Bonny Oduor guilty of conspiring to commit an economic crime by receiving and retaining the amount for building plans in the city. They conspired to steal Sh8.8 million in approval fees.

Karume is a building inspector, Oduor a private developer and Nyambura a clerical officer. They will serve four years and six months in jail should they fail to part with the cash to secure their freedom. The court also found them guilty of conspiracy to defraud, obtaining money by false pretences and making false documents.

The court fined each of them Sh700,000 or a jail term of 12 months, Sh280,000 or a jail term of three years and Sh50,000 or a jail term of six months, translating into a Sh1.03 million fine or four years and six months in jail.

The trio was taken to the Industrial Area Prison as the authorities await the next course of action.

Following the court decision, Governor Mike Sonko has asked public and county officials to strictly follow the law when executing duties. He warned against payment of kickbacks or suspect fees for any service at City Hall.

“This should serve as a good example to those who want to bend our laws and do things through the backdoor,” Sonko said.

He said all charges for county services are captured in the Finance Bill, 2019, which he signed into law on Tuesday.

Last month, the county chief suspended 16 county officials from the Planning department, including two executives, to pave the way for investigations into circumstances under which a wall collapsed at Precious Talent Academy. The tragedy left eight pupils dead and several others injured.

Sonko has also initiated a thorough audit of the department in a bid to unmask past irregularities.

(Edited by F'Orieny)