The anti-corruption court in Kericho yesterday ruled that Kericho County public officers accused of corruption over the construction of Bae-Kapsimotwet-Kibaraa Road in Belgut Sub County, Kericho County have a case to answer and placed them on their defense. In an unprecedented turn of event, the court also ruled that the case commences today, 5th October, greatly reducing the often-long court processes which delay cases.
Kericho Chief Magistrate Samuel Mokua made the ruling after the prosecution presented 17 witnesses who testified against the accused.
The anti-graft agency, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission commenced investigations into the allegations of abuse of office, conflict of interest and procurement irregularities by Kericho County officials in award of a construction tender found that the County Officers and Directors of Jawlink Logistics Limited were culpable.
The accused are Peter Koskey- Chief Officer, Public Works, Roads and Transport; Lillian Chepkoech- Road Inspector and Director Jawlink; Joash Chirchir- Roads Engineer; Charles Mabwai- Procurement Officer; Aaron Njoroge- Accountants Officer; Stanley Ruto- Roads Inspector; John Rotich and Japheth Kipngeno, Directors, Jawlink.
The accused persons were arrested and arraigned in Kericho court on 6th June 2020 to face various accounts including; Willfully failing to comply with the applicable procedures and guidelines relating to procurement contrary to Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.
Other charges included Willfully failing to comply with the applicable procedures and guidelines relating to procurement; Abuse Of Office; and failure to disclose a private interest to one’s principal; and Conflict of Interest contrary to ACECA, 2003; :Carrying on the business of a contractor without being registered as a contractor contrary to the National Construction Authority Act, 2011; Fraudulent practice in the procurement proceedings contrary the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act; Uttering a false document contrary the Code; and willfully failing to comply with the applicable procedures and guidelines relating to Procurement laws and ACECA, 2003.
The offences were committed on diverse dates between 4th and 11th March, 2016 in and over the award of a contract to Jawlink using Direct Procurement without following the procurement procedures.
Lillian Chepkoech Kirui, the Road Inspector, Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport at the County, who is also a Director of Jawlink to hide her private interest in the said company to benefit from the contract worth Kshs. 5,600,000.00 for the construction road. She also knowingly benefited by receiving Kshs. 3,807,899.90 being the contract sum paid to her company by her employer, the County Government of Kericho.
The company, Jawlink: and its Directors, Lilian Kirui; John Rotich and Japheth Yegon are accused of carrying on the business of a contractor knowing that it was not registered under the National Construction Authority Act, 2011, presenting and uttering a fraudulent NCA Registration Certificate to be awarded the contract.
Chirchir Joash, Stanley Ruto Cheruiyot, Charles Kipsang Mabwai, Aaron Waiharo Njoroge were members of the ad-hoc Evaluation Committee that awarded the road construction tender at a cost of KShs. 5,606,512.00. They are accused of not following the relevant laws and guidelines relating to procurement.
Many public officers have been breaking procurement laws in a bid to enrich themselves, their families and cronies in get rich schemes, believing they can outwit anti-graft agencies, who are ever vigilant and ready to pounce on them.