COURT FREEZES COMPANY ACCOUNTS OVER SH185M THEFT IN TURKANA COUNTY

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The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has unearthed a Sh185 million grand corruption at the County Government of Turkana siphoned by Amailo Investments Ltd and five county officials.

The anti-graft agency filed a suit at the High Court to have the funds that were systematically siphoned from the county government between 2014 and 202, be forfeited to the state for being proceeds of corruption. The agency revealed that the county officials paid the company got goods and services not rendered and got kickbacks in return.

Justice Esther Maina issued an order freezing the company’s accounts at Equity Bank, Lodwar Branch pending determination of the suit. Maina, directed that the company, its agents or any person acting on their behalf should not operate, withdraw or transfer any amount currently held in the accounts until the court determines whether they are proceeds of corruption to be forfeited to state.

The officials listed by EACC as being part of the corruption deals are Turkana County head of accounting Esther Lokai, Public Health Inspector Mathew Kipkemei, senior accountant Grace Murei and Director of Education Samuel Eregae, James Chegem, county’s head of stores, and the company’s directors Elim Peter Epagan and his father Peter Endapal.

The company staff used their positions to award the contracts and authorise payments even when the goods had not been supplied. The county paid Sh25 million to the company to supply 6,024 bags of corn soya but the goods were never delivered.

EACC’s investigating officer Michael Kasilon, revealed that they received a report in August last year on the fraudulent payments made to the company for eight years and upon investigations discovered they had siphoned Sh185,638,899.

Kalison stated that the county officials colluded with the company and issued false inspection reports and acceptance certificates to prove that the company had made the supplies and justify the huge payments.

Corruption in the county governments has undermined the procurement process where county officials make fraudulent payments hence affecting economic development in terms of efficiency and growth in the counties. With the new procurement laws there is hope that all the loopholes will be sealed to endure service delivery to the citizens.

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