EACC go for Sh36m from Homa Bay assembly staff
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is seeking to recover about Sh36,270,032 public funds allegedly embezzled at Homa Bay county Assembly.
Already, the commission has issued a demand notice to the Assembly Clerk Faith Adhiambo Apuko notifying her of plans to recover the money and/or a legal suit.
In a letter dated August 5 to the assembly clerk signed by David Too on behalf of the CEO, Apuko has been given 14 days from the date of the notice to reply or face the law.
The commission said it shall institute appropriate legal action against her, adding that the amount was part of the allocation for the construction of MCAs offices which was valued at a tune of Sh348,927,840. “The commission has been investigating allegations of embezzlement and/or misappropriation of public funds, conflict of interest and abuse of office by some public officials at the County Assembly of Homa Bay on account of an award of tender for the construction of Mass offices,” read part of the letter seen by the People Daily.
The tender number HBCA/T/W6/2018-2019 was awarded to M/S Hartland Enterprises Limited and the contract period was 78 weeks commencing on August 12, 2019, and ending on January 8, 2021. “Investigations have since established that on July 10, 2019, M/S Hartland Enterprises Limited entered into a contract with the Homa Bay County Assembly Service Board for construction of MCA’s offices for a consideration of Sh348,927,840,” reads the letter.
The commission noted “It was further established that the contractor payment in two tranches; the first interim payment of Sh35,117,320 on June 25, 2020, and the second payment of Sh31,595,605 on June 30, 2021, bring the total payment in favour of M/S Hartland Enterprises to Sh66,714,925.
However, upon assessment and evaluation of the project by the commission, it was established that the gross value of the work done and the materials on the site was only Sh30,444,892.
Investigations established that whereas the gross amount paid to the contractor was Sh66,714,925.14 meaning the contractor was overpaid Sh36,270,032.68.
According to the commission, Apuko being the Assembly Clerk and the accounting officer has been found culpable of failing to ensure proper management and control of the assembly finances.
This includes accounting for the finances of the Assembly contrary to section 147 and section 196 of the Public Finance Management Act.
She also authorised and facilitated the process of the second interim payment in the sum of Sh31,597,605 to the contractor while aware the contract period had lapsed.
Reports showed that the project had stalled and there was no valid performance bond contrary to section 45(2)of the Anti Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.
Apuko has also been reportedly found culpable of conspiring to alter the project period from August 12, 2019, to January 8, 2021, as indicated in the site handover minutes dated August 6, 2019.
The commission further found the clerk culpable of abusing her office by improperly conferring a benefit to Hartland Enterprises Limited contrary to section 46 of the Anti Corruption and Economic Crimes Act,2003.
“The commission hereby demands against you payment in the sum of Sh36,270,032 as restitution, being public funds illegally paid to M/S Hartland Enterprises Limited by Homa Bay County Service Board for services not done together with interest at court rates from date of disbursement to date of payment in full,” EACC said.