Kibunjia arrested in museums Sh490m ghost workers scam

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 03:45 | By
Former Director General of the National Museum of Kenya Mzalendo Kibunjia. PHOTO/Print
Former Director General of the National Museum of Kenya Mzalendo Kibunjia. PHOTO/Print

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives yesterday arrested former Director General of National Museum of Kenya (NMK) Mzalendo Kibunjia and four other suspects over alleged Sh490 million fraud.

Kibunjia, ICT Officer Oliver Okinyi Rabuor, Wycliffe Odhiambo Ongata (accountant payroll section) and Oscar Mwaura, are expected to be charged today at the Milimani Law courts

“The four suspects are to be charged with embezzlement of Sh490,000,000 at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) between Financial Years 2015/2016 and 2021/2022,” EACC said.

The EACC detectives commenced after they received a report that the NMK officials were embezzling public funds through irregular payment of salaries to ghost employees, which were later transferred to senior officials.

Upon conclusion of the investigations, the Commission submitted the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who concurred with the Commission’s recommendations to charge suspects.

The suspects were detained at the EACC Integrity Centre Police overnight are expected to be arraigned this morning with various counts including Conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, abuse of office, unlawful acquisition of public property and acquisition of proceeds of crime and money laundering.

Murang’a governor

The EACC, however, said one suspect, Stanvas Ongalo Opijah Director, Human Resource and Administration, was yet to be arrested.

He was directed to immediately report to EACC headquarters located at the Integrity Centre, Nairobi.
On Saturday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Renson Ingonga recommended the prosecution of Kibunjia and his former colleagues, and former Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria together with six other over alleged Sh140 million procurement fraud between 2015 and 2016 at the devolved unit.
The EACC also directed Wa Iria and seven other officials to report to the EACC headquarters for processing and arraignment.

The DPP said an investigation carried out by the EACC revealed that the suspects fraudulently awarded tenders to Top Image Media Consultancy Limited and Value View Limited with disregard to conflict of interest.

EACC said they had received a complaint in regard to allegations of procurement irregularities and conflict of interest in the award of publicity tenders by the County Government of Murang’a to M/s. Top Image Media Consultancy Ltd at a cost of Sh140 million during the Financial Year 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.

Upon conclusion of the investigations, EACC submitted the investigation report to the DPP who upon independent review concurred with the Commission’s recommendations.

Wa Iria is to be charged alongside Patrick Kagumu Mukuria (former County Secretary), Jane Wanjiru Mbuthia (director Top Image Media Consultancy Ltd), David Maina Kiama (director, Top Image Media Consultancy Ltd), David Maina Njeri (director Top Image Media Consultancy Ltd), Jane Waigwe Kimani (director Value View Ltd), Solomon Mutura Kimani (director Value View Ltd) and Peter Muturi Karanja (personnal Assistant to former Governor).

They are to be charged with conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, abuse of office, unlawful acquisition of public property, conflict of interest, dealing with suspect property, and money laundering.
In August last year, EACC said an investigation in the institution had revealed that 105 ghost workers were added to the payroll between 2016 and 2022.

The ghost workers were paid a gross salary of between Sh88,000 and Sh95,000, and they were also able to access loan facilities from a specific bank.

Constituency roads

The probe further revealed that they later handed over the borrowed amount to NMK officials, and they were given between Sh100,000 and Sh200,000 as appreciation.

Ingonga said they were satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to warrant the prosecution of the suspects for the various offences.

Elsewhere, officials from the Ol-Kalou National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) will face charges for allegedly fraudulently acquiring Sh55.8 million designated for constituency roads.

The DPP disclosed that an audit into the expenditure of funds from the Ol-Kalou Constituency Roads Project Bank, covering the period between May 15, 2014, and October 31, 2018, raised concerns regarding the validity of the expenditures totalling Sh55.8 million.

According to the DPP, the NG-CDF officials were unable to provide supporting documents for the expenditures during the investigation.

“It has been established that during the same period, cheque and cash withdrawals totalling Sh55.8 million were made out in favour of Ol-Kalou NG-CDF Roads Project Committee Officials and in the names of seven other companies without following any procurement procedure,” the DPP stated.

The NG-CDF Roads Project Committee officials claimed that the expenditures were in support of various road works carried out across the constituency for the financial years 2013/2024, 2014/2025, 2015/2016, 2016/2017, and 2017/2018.

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