Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Prisons department rot would shock even devil

Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission has been asked to launch immediate investigations into claims of rampant corruption at the Prisons Department.
A senior prison officer who requested not to be named said corruption is rampant at the department with prisoners in some institutions going without food due to misappropriation of funds.
The officer said Prisons Commissioner General Isaac Osugo is allegedly colluding with some senior officers to defraud the department of millions of shillings.
The officer wondered where Osugo among other officers get the funds to build several storey buildings across the country citing a one in Sotik, Kilgoris, Mombosa, Nairobi among other towns.
The officer said that after Osugo signs Authority to Incur Expenditure for various stations, he allegedly makes sure that those in charge of various prisons in the country give him kickbacks.
“What happens is that when for example, the commissioner general signs AIE of Sh10million for Shimo La Tewa prison, he colludes with the officer in charge there to get back around Sh2million so that he continues to be in charge of such stations,” claimed the source.
He said some officers in charge of stations have overstayed in such areas because Osugo allegedly protects them from being moved to other stations so that they continue to loot.
The officer named Manyani, Eldoret, Kitale, Narok, Kisii, Shimo la Tewa, Taita, Kwale and Kamiti as some of the areas that either the officer in charge or deputy have overstayed on protection of the commissioner.
The officer claimed in prisons where they angage in crop and dairy farming, officers in charge  give kickbacks to the commissioner general because they are also given funds for development just like  areas with no farming or dairy keeping.
“Where do you think the money received from sell of farm produce or dairy products go? They end up in pockets of officers in charge and part of it is returned to the commissioner general for protection to remain in such areas,” said the source.
The source said those appointed to be in charge of prisons become rich quickly because of such activities adding that there are a lot of corrupt activities taking place in prisons.
But the source said when principal secretary Josephita Mukobe toured some of the prisons she was shocked at the manner in which operations and lack of accountability in such institutions.
“In fact, the PS was shocked in one of the prisons when she learnt that a 90kg bag of maize which is sold at Sh2000 was being bought at Sh12,500. Just see the nature of corruption in these prisons,” said the source.
Another source urged the government to ask the commissioner general why some officers in charge of some stations have stayed for more than 10 years in such prisons while others were moved barely two years after they are posted to such areas.
The source further disclosed that on realizing that the PS was tough on matters of corruption that she at one time stopped for payment of money to the department of Sh 5billion for development and expenditure, panic has since gripped the perpetrators of the vice.
“ We want the government to launch thorough investigations on how funds are being misused in prisons department and arrest those behind the corrupt deals,” said the source.
The officer said he was sure that the way the PS was handling issues of corruption in the department might lead to arrest of top officers unless she is compromised.
He said prison officers are suffering because of few top officers who were handling the department like their personal property.
‘ I want to tell you that more than half of all AIEs dispatched to prisons all over the country find their way back to Nairobi. Officers in charge fear that if you do not return part of the money to Commissioner General you would soon be transferred,” said the source.
He said Osugo has frustrated those who do not condone corruption transferring them to department with less income generating activities.
The source said Osugo was being protected by senior officers within the presidency and yet his term has expired.
“ let me inform you that there is rampant corruption in this department and even those in the presidency benefit from kickbacks from Osugo so that he gets protection from them,” said the source.
He said prison officers who were recently given duties were paid less days while the remaining days will never be paid as those in charge divert the money for their use.
“ Somebody may think some of us are fighting anybody but what we are just asking is for investigations on how funds are being used, why some officers have become so rich quickly and yet their salaries are little. Only that nothing else,” said the officer.