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Tuesday 21 April 2015

Court beckons for Kambi, Kamau over graft claims

Court beckons for Kambi, Kamau over graft claims
Labour Cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi and his Transport counterpart Michael Kamau may appear in court next week among other top State officials whose graft allegations cases were raised by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) are ready for prosecution.
The development comes as EACC is said to be working round the clock to beat the 60-day timeline given by President Uhuru Kenyatta early this month to conclude investigations into individuals implicated in graft.
Other high ranking personalities understood to be in the frontline to appear in the dock include former Judiciary Chief Registrar Gladys Boss Shollei and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) managing director Lucy Mbugua.
The commission has concluded investigations into 21 cases, including the Sh5 billion Tassia II project case (affecting Kambi), the National Early Warning System, the Immigration Department and the Kenya Airport Authority Green Field Terminal (affecting Kamau). Kambi and Kamau—who face various corruption allegations and who have since steeped aside to allow for investigations—are said to be among the first high profile personalities mentioned in EACC’s ‘List of Shame’ whose cases the commission had prioritised.
Kamau is implicated in alleged irregular awarding of a tender for the Greenfield Terminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International in 2012 when he was serving as Roads Permanent Secretary.
Kambi is set to answer to charges that have dogged the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Tassia II project, where he has been directly implicated in evading official approval procedure. Kambi came out strongly in support of NSSF Tassia II project, despite indications that the Board of Trustees did not approve the revised cost estimates of Sh5.053 billion from Sh3.304 billion as required by procurement laws and that the alleged approval by way of email circulation was irregular.
The fate of Kambi and Kamau in Cabinet could be as good as sealed since the probability is high that they stand to lose their positions once paraded in court.
According to the ‘List of Shame’ handed over to Parliament by the President early this month, Kambi has “been involved in corruption deals” at NSSF which falls under his ministry.
Kamau could land in court due to the Sh57 billion Greenfield project, which was allegedly awarded to Anhui Construction Engineering and China Aero-Technology International in 2012. President Uhuru said only those who will be cleared of corruption allegations would find their way back to Cabinet.
“If your name is in the list, then clear your name with the relevant commissions then you will get back your positions,” said the President. When he appeared before EACC a fortnight ago, Kambi said he did not understand why he was mentioned in the graft report, claiming he had been fighting corruption.
“I am clean and have left everything that is needed with investigators,” Kambi said. Shollei is set to appear before court over the purchase of the Chief Justice’s house for Sh310 million and the construction of prefabricated magistrates’ courts at Sh1.2 billion, with the contracts being awarded to a company associated with a judge.
Shollei was grilled by the detectives of EACC over claims of procurement malpractices during her stint at the Judiciary. She was questioned on the purchase of the CJ’s house, the lease and partitioning of Elgon Place for the Court of Appeal, the Mavoko pre-fabricated law courts and the renovation of the CJ’s house parking lot and kitchen.
At KAA, Mbugua who had also appeared before the commission, is among those set to appear in court next week. Mbugua has, however, maintained that appearing before the anti-graft body was to answer questions on some procurement issues, and told journalists she had appeared to represent the authority, not herself. “I was not grilled on anything touching on me.
I am here as CEO of KAA,” she had said. EACC chairman Mumo Matemu yesterday said the commission had so far interrogated 95 State officers out of the 175 mentioned in the list. The commission is confident the remaining 82 individuals would be investigated in approximately one month, he said.
“Our officers have been professional in conducting their duties. They have been very sensitive to the concerns of those that have appeared before us and we will continue to do our work diligently,” said Matemu during a press conference at the Integrity Centre yesterday.
He said 15 cases, one from Kisumu county, seven involving the National Police Service Commission and seven from the Machakos county are currently under review by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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