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February 18, 2019

Graft suspect in Sh2bn looting from Migori awarded state job

ICT Cs Joe Mucheru at the launch of the Radio spectrum by the CAK in Nairobi on March3.Photo/Enos Teche.
ICT Cs Joe Mucheru at the launch of the Radio spectrum by the CAK in Nairobi on March3.Photo/Enos Teche.

A key suspect in the alleged looting of Sh2 billion from the Migori county coffers is among individuals awarded plum state appointments.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has appointed Jared Kwaga to the board of Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.

DPP Noordin Haji and DCI chief George Kinoti are pushing to have all graft suspects barred from holding public positions.

Yesterday, efforts to get Mucheru’s comment were unsuccessful. He did not return calls or respond to text messages.

Kwaga is a close associate of Migori Governor Okoth Obado. His assets were frozen by the High Court after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission filed a Sh1.9 billion recovery suit against him and six relatives. They include his mother and wife.

The EACC says Kwaga and his relatives registered several companies to fraudulently acquire public funds through unmerited high-value tenders — some fictitious.

The agency in court papers says Kwaga, in a bid to conceal funds corruptly acquired through fictitious tenders, transferred Sh55,224,977 to offshore accounts in China and Hong Kong.

The Constitution bars public officers from opening or operating bank accounts outside Kenya without approval from the EACC.

The state has also made it mandatory that job seekers get clearance from the EACC and a letter of good conduct from the DCI. It sometimes requests for a secret dossier from the National Intelligence Service. It is not clear whether Kwaga was cleared by the agencies.

Yesterday, National Coordinator of Civil Society Congress Suba Churchill told the Star that Mucheru will have no option but to revoke the appointment.

“I think it would be an embarrassment to the appointing authority if this appointment goes the way of the former Sports Minister [Hassan Wario], who was appointed ambassador and later charged and his passport confiscated… The state must move with speed and stop the appointment. It must nullify any Gazette notices to that effect,” Suba said.

Read:  Former governors, sports legend land state jobs in Uhuru's latest appointments

He said the appointment has lifted the lid on the rot in the vetting process of public officers. The vetting system is completely wrong and lacks public participation, Suba said.

Others appointed to the board are TV journalist Beatrice Marshall, Simon Kamatu, Zebedeo Opore, Edward Musebe, Stellah Onyiego and Dee Kivuva.

The latest appointments also feature those who lost in the last election. Sports legend Paul Kibii was appointed chairperson of Kenya Academy of Sports Council.

Former Kajiado Governor David Nkedianye was named chairperson of the National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority.

Former Mwingi Central MP Joe Mutambu, a critic of Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, will chair the Water Resource Authority. ODM treasurer Olga Karani has been appointed chairperson of the Council of Kenya Cultural Centre.

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