WORLD BANK GRANT

Korane barred from accessing office in Sh233m graft case

Governor released on Sh3.25 million cash bail, court said charge sheet did not say money was lost.

In Summary

•  Garissa governor was charged alongside four county officials with mismanagement of Sh233 million from the World Bank for urban upgrade . They denied charges.

• He was released on Sh3.25 million cash bail.

Garissa governor Ali Korane.
GRAFT CASE: Garissa governor Ali Korane.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Garissa Governor Ali Korane was on Tuesday barred from accessing his offices until a Sh233 million corruption case against him is decided.

Chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti issued the order barring office entry as he ruled on bail for Korane and four others charged with graft in the mismanagement of World Bank funds.

The governor was arraigned on charges of corruption relating to mismanagement of a Sh233 million World Bank grant for urban upgrade.

 
 

He was charged alongside four county officials - Ibrahim Shurie, Mohammed Abdullahi, Abdi Bulle and Ahmed Aden. All denied the charges.

The governor was released on Sh3.25 million cash bail or an alternative bond of Sh5 million. His co-accused were released on Sh1.25 million bail each.

It is alleged that between February 25 and September 30, 2019 Korane and others conspired to commit an economic crime of funds mismanagement.

The money was allocated to the Garissa county government as a conditional grant for the  Kenya Urban Support Programme amounting to Sh233,506,000.

Korane was separately charged with willful failure to comply with the law relating to management of funds, leading to mismanagement of the grant.

The charge sheet says CEC for Finance Shure and Treasury head Abdullahi unlawfully authorised the transfer of Sh205,234,132 from the Garissa county Kenya Urban Support Programme (Kusp) account No. 10000385618 to various county accounts at the Central Bank of Kenya.

The prosecution called for tough bail terms given the gravity of the offence.

 
 

Assistant DPP Alexander Muteti asked the court to bar the governor and the other accused from accessing their offices until their trial is concluded.

Muteti said being barred from office does not amount to removal from office - it's just denial of access.

Korane's lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi opposed denial of access, saying the prosecution cannot impose conditions on release.

“The court should consider the presumption of innocence of the accused persons and, your honour, there are no crimes disclosed in this charge sheet," he said.

Abdullahi said the charge sheet does not say money was lost or stolen from the  county.

“We will show in trial there is no offence as claimed by the prosecution. It's unfortunate there is no evidence at this stage so that we can show the court,” he said.

He said Korane should not be barred from his office because, unlike in the cases of other governors, no money was lost. He mentioned former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and Migori Governor Okoth Obado.

“In the other cases, the court was shown how the governors were transferring money to their wives, family and side chicks but in this case there is nothing like that,” the lawyer said.

In his bail ruling, Ogoti said he had considered many factors including the gravity of the offence.

"In granting bail, I have considered the fact that there was no loss of money disclosed in the charge,” he said.

The case will be mentioned on October 23.

(Edited by V. Graham)