Anti-graft team probes theft of Sh30m from Kil­ifi ac­counts

The Bank­ing Fraud In­ves­ti­ga­tions Unit has been sent to the county to in­ves­ti­gate. The KRA and the As­set Re­cov­ery Agency also in­volved in the probe

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Coast - ELIAS YAA @TheS­tarKenya

The Ethics and Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­leged theft of more than Sh30 mil­lion from the Kil­ifi gov­ern­ment ac­counts.

Up­per Coast EACC deputy di­rec­tor Ge­orge Ojowi on Sun­day said a multi-agency team led by the Bank­ing Fraud In­ves­ti­ga­tions Unit has been sent to Kil­ifi to look into the mat­ter.

He said the Kenya Rev­enue Author­ity and the As­set Re­cov­ery Agency will be in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Ojowi said the money was fraud­u­lently wired from the Kil­ifi gov­ern- ment main ac­count to two com­pa­nies early this month.

“We have iden­ti­fied the two com­pa­nies and we are now search­ing to know who the direc­tors are. The money was paid between Oc­to­ber 5 and 7,” he said.

“There are no records to show the com­pa­nies car­ried out any busi­ness with the county. We sus­pect there are peo­ple who opened these com­pa­nies to de­fraud the public.”

A source, who sought anonymity, said some­one logged into the county gov­ern­ment’s pay­ment sys­tem us­ing one of the se­nior fi­nance of­fi­cers’ pass­word and wired the money to the two com­pa­nies.

The source said it was an in­side job as only few peo­ple know the pass­word.

NO HACK­ING

“I can­not say the sys­tem was hacked, but it is some­one with ac­cess to the of­fi­cer’s lo­gin cre­den­tials, who de­cided to steal the money,” the source said.

An of­fi­cer from the IT depart­ment is said to have raised the red flag af­ter notic­ing the un­usual trans­fer. The cash was mostly from the Health depart­ment’s re­cur­rent funds.

The EACC is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing a wa­ter project in Mwawesa ward, which cost Sh40 mil­lion. It is also prob­ing the pur­chase of land for the Mt­wapa bus park. It is al­leged an acre was bought for an in­flated price of Sh15 mil­lion.

“We are in­volv­ing the ARA so that we can re­cover the as­sets of all those found cul­pa­ble. We have gath­ered enough ev­i­dence that we would not like to let out to the public at this stage, but will do so in due course,” Ojowi said.

On Satur­day, Kil­ifi Deputy Gover­nor Ken­neth Kamto said more than 50 per cent of the to­tal al­lo­ca­tion to the county has been mis­ap­pro­pri­ated.

“Cor­rup­tion is rife in Kil­ifi and ev­ery­thing is on the wall for ev­ery­one to see. This is not what we promised to stand for when we were seek­ing elec­tion. Some­thing needs to be done,” he said.

Re­cently, the county gov­ern­ment has made the head­lines for cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions.

/ELKANA JA­COB

EACC of­fi­cials led by chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Halakhe Waqo (right) at North Coast Ho­tel, Kil­ifi, on Septem­ber 11 last year

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