The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Officer, Twalib Mbarak has issued caution to defiant public officials who continue working in their offices despite facing corruption charges in courts, saying they risk punitive action.

The EACC CEO singled out eight employees of the Turkana County government who have continued to report to work yet they are facing abuse of office charges at an Eldoret court.

The eight who served in the Turkana in various capacities at the time of the offence include, Joseph Namuar (Chief Officer, Finance), Richard Oboo Emoru (Director Of Procurement), Mark Ewoi (Chief Officer, Lands), Francis Edapal (Deputy Director, Supply Chain Management), Lomoe Shakespear (Supply Chain Management Officer), Peter Lobali (Accountant), Apalia Ekakoron (Director of Revenue) and James Ekaran (Accountant) were jointly accused of conspiracy to defraud Turkana County government of Kshs.42.56 million meant for the supply of a fire truck. The eight were charged together with the Directors of Winston International Company Limited, which was to supply and deliver the fire engine in the financial year 2014/2015. The procurement had neither been budgeted nor planned for as required by government financial management and procurement laws in expenditure of public finances.

The county officials have continued going to their officials against a High Court ruling by Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi’s epic ruling that public officers charged in court over corruption crimes should step aside until their cases are heard and determined. According to the ruling, public officials facing corruption charges in court must seek the authority of the EACC CEO to step into their offices.

“The commission has come to the understanding that the suspended employees have continued to flout the court ruling with impunity by reporting to work as if nothing happened,” Mr Twalib is quoted warning them. “We shall deal with them as per the law; in a manner they have never witnessed before,” he warned.

Investigations by the anti-graft body found that five years after the payment was made, the fire truck had not been delivered to the county. The officers are accused of charges including unlawful acquisition of public property contrary to the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act. The tender was awarded to Winston International Limited, whose Directors Mohamed Akran Khan and Naweed Akram Khan have also been charged in court with engaging in fraud.

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