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KEBS boss arrested for obstructing graft probe

By Zadock Angira
Thursday, July 2nd, 2020
Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director Bernard Njiraini.

 Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director Bernard Njiraini was yesterday arrested for obstructing investigations into a suspected procurement scandal.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Twalib Mbarak said Njiraini was arrested for failing to cooperate with detectives.

“We wanted certain crucial documents but he refused to cooperate. The law allows us to arrest in such cases,” Mbarak said.

EACC has been investigating allegations of procurement irregularities and payment of bribes in respect of awards for tenders for provision pre-export conformity of goods, used motor vehicles, mobile equipment and spare parts by KEBS.

Mbarak said the detectives had on numerous occasions requested for original documents from Njiraini’s office, which he ignored, thereby frustrating the timely conclusion of the probe.

“Today, EACC arrested Benard Njiraini as a penal consequence of failing to comply with a Notice issued to him pursuant to Section 27 and Section 66 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.

This is with a view of obtaining the said documents and preferring charges against him for his contravention,” EACC said.

It is an offence under Section 27 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act (ACECA) to fail to comply.

Such persons, according to the Act, risk being jailed for three years or fined Sh300,000, or to both.

Mbarak also said the CEO was being accused of obstructing detectives, without any justification or lawful excuse.

For this, the law states, a suspect can be fined Sh500,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding five years.

Last year, KEBS attempted to increase the number of pre-export inspectors of vehicles and goods, claiming substandard vehicles were getting into the country. 

KEBS further maintained that goods including those regulated by all government agents should undergo PVOC certification.

The current tender was awarded in 2017 and is expected to end in February 2021 this year, the same time the newly advertised one- year tender is expected to end. 

Investigations have also been launched on reports of conflict of interest following reports that QISJ was associated with some companies involved in car importation.

One of the tender requirements is that the tenderer should not be associated with activities that may suggest or be deemed to be in conflict with inspection services.

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