From Sh42,000 pay to Sh80m in bank?
A junior public official earning a monthly net salary of Sh42,000 has found himself on the radar of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives after his account was found with millions of shillings which could not be accounted for.
Samuel Njoroge Kariuki, 42, a finance officer II at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, is accused of receiving huge deposits in his Equity Bank account totalling Sh79.76 million from the ministry.
According to EACC, Kariuki would, in some instances, receive millions of shillings for “purchase of snacks” on behalf of the ministry. But he would not withdraw the cash, or would withdraw just part of it, meaning it was never used for the stated purposes.
The commission accuses Kariuki of “embezzlement of public funds, and abuse of office.” It states that credits to his bank account are disproportionate to his salary, raising suspicion that the funds were obtained through corruption.
Before deployment to his current job, Kariuki worked in the Children’s Department, earning a net salary of Sh27,000 per month.
Unable to explain
At the time of the investigations, Kariuki’s account had Sh22,467,999 — which now has been frozen. Justice D.O Ogembo of the Anti-Corruption Court froze Kariuki’s accounts for six months to facilitate further investigations after the suspect was unable to explain the source of the money.
“An order is hereby issued prohibiting the respondent, his agents, servants or any other persons from withdrawing, transferring, disposing or in any other way dealing with the funds in the bank account described hereunder,” the court ordered on Monday.
Preliminary investigations revealed that Kariuki is the sole signatory to the bank account in question, which he opened on August 21, 2009, and which he has been using to receive his salary. His average net salary is between Sh31,000 and Sh42,246 for the period January 2018 to March 2022.
The commission notes that besides his salary, Kariuki has inexplicably received large sums of money from the Ministry amounting to Sh79.76 million. At the date of execution of the warrants, the bank statement had a balance of Sh22,467,999.96.
After analysing the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) account for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, it was established that between March 2019 and March 2022, he received imprest in the sum of Sh3,991,300, which was described as “purchase of snacks”.
Purchase of snacks
On March 8, 2022, he received Sh485,000 for purchase of snacks but there were no withdrawals from this account.
On December 22, 2020, he received another Sh465,000 for the same purpose but he only withdrew Sh143,000.
On September 9, 2020, Kariuki had Sh437,000 imprest deposited to his account for the purpose of purchasing snacks, but only withdrew Sh57,350.
Further, IFMIS reflected that on June 30, 2022, he applied for imprest worth Sh6,562,865 and the funds were credited to his bank account on various dates in July 2021. Between March 1, 2022, and April 1 2022, he received Sh1,240,895 but there were no withdrawals.
EACC detective Juliet Kavala told the court that considering the respondent’s salary, the credits to his bank account are disproportionate “and EACC suspects they are proceeds of crime “amenable to forfeiture to the State”.
She adds that the commission “reasonably suspected that the deposits are proceeds of corruption, which amenable to forfeiture to the State”.