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DENY WRONGDOING

Five senior West Pokot officials charged with graft in purchase of relief maize

Court order they be detained at the Eldoret prison until Monday next week when the court will rule on their bail application

In Summary

• They are accused of procuring 5,000 bags of maize without adhering to relevant laws

• Dr Parklea allegedly authorised payments to a company that was not qualified for the tender

West Pokot county officials in an Eldoret court on July 9
West Pokot county officials in an Eldoret court on July 9
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Five senior officials of the West Pokot government have been charged with 17 counts of corruption in relation to the purchase of relief maize two years ago.

The suspects, including county secretary Mike Parklea, appeared before chief magistrate Charles Obulutsa and denied the charges. The others are Alice Chepkosgey, Joseph Lolemtum, Elvis Rotich and Titus Toroitich — all from the Finance and Procurement departments.

Lawyer Peter Wanyama represented all the accused and applied to have them released on bail, pending the hearing of their case.

 

“They are being accused of not following procedures and nowhere is it said that public money was lost,” Wanyama said.

But Obulutsa ordered they be detained at the Eldoret prison until Monday next week when the court will rule on their bail application. 

Dr Parklea was charged that on October 11, 2017, being the county secretary and a person whose functions concerned the management of public property, carelessly failed to comply with the Procurement and Public Assets Disposal Act by allowing restricted tendering for the supply and delivery of 5,000 bags of maize in the absence of the list of prequalified contractors.

He was also charged that on November 9 the same year, he willfully executed a contract with Leilan Enterprises Ltd for the supply of the 5,000 bags, yet the company was not qualified

“It’s not true your honour," Parklea said when the charges were read.

On December 11 that year, he allegedly approved a Sh6 million payment voucher for Leilan Enterprises for maize supply. Additionally, he was accused of approving a Sh18 million payment voucher for the same company.

The court heard that on November 24, 2017, Dr Parklea willfully approved direct tendering for the purchase and supply of 20,000 West Pokot-branded bags worth Sh720,000. He is accused of signing the local purchase order for the bags.

All the officers were charged with failing to comply with the law during the purchase. The maize was meant for starving families.

(Edited by F'Orieny)