SWORD OF DAMOCLES

Twenty governors, 227 MCAs under probe

Pursued for looting county funds, abuse of office and conflict of interest

In Summary

• EACC documenting assets believed to have been bought using cash stolen from the counties.

• Agency says it has recovered Sh6.5 billion from corrupt individuals since 2013.

EACC boss Twalib Mbarak
HOT PURSUIT: EACC boss Twalib Mbarak
Image: FILE

The EACC on Tuesday said 20 governors and 227 MCAs are being investigated for corruption. 

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission director of preventive services Vincent Okong’o said the cases involve looting of county funds, abuse of office and conflict of interest.

He said culprits would be charged soon after investigations are complete. Okong'o spoke on Tuesday during the fourth Legislative Summit in Kisumu. The forum brings together senators and MCAs.

Without naming those being investigated, he said the list is dominated by serving governors and MCAs. A few former county chiefs and ward legislators are also being probed.

The anti-graft agency has in recent years shifted focus on county chiefs and MCAs who collude to loot funds using their positions.

Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal is the latest target. EACC detectives have accused him of possible involvement a Sh84 million fraud cash. He was freed on April 4 on a Sh10 million bail after it was reduced from Sh100 million.

The EACC is identifying assets believed to have been bought using cash stolen from the counties. They include houses, land and high-end cars.

Okong’o said the commission has over the past six years averted a possible loss of Sh21.3 billion through disruption of corruption networks at both the county and national government levels.

He said the commission has secured 111 convictions in various courts since 2013. During the same period, the EACC managed to recover Sh6.5 billion from corrupt individuals.

“Of the 227 cases involving the MCAs – some who have left office – we unearthed unethical behaviour like conflict of interest, abuse of office and falsification of documents. Some are doing business with the county governments,” Okong’o said.

He said the EACC has observed that most counties are operating on weak accountability systems which create corruption loopholes. This makes it difficult to combat graft in the counties.

Okong'o said the commission has conducted accountability system analysis in 17 county assemblies.  From the analysis, it emerged that most counties do not maintain assets registers, they lack of controls and audit of programmes.

There is blatant abuse of procurement systems which in most cases is clouded by conflict of interests by MCAs charged with over sighting governors, he said.

“Many institutions still have very weak accountability systems of use of public funds,” Okong’o said.

He rooted for an automated declaration of wealth system to aid the fight against corruption especially in the counties. Okong'o said the current manual declaration is too cumbersome sleuths to analyse all the documents.

The commission has proposed to the National Assembly to come up with a law that will see automation of wealth declaration.

“The current manual system is tiresome since one must obtain a court order and also seek permission of the person to open the sealed forms,” he said.