14 charged over Kenya cemetery fraud

April 29, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 29 – Suspended Local Government Permanent Secretary Sammy Kirui and former Nairobi Town Clerk John Gakuo are among 14 people charged in the anti-corruption court on Friday over the controversial cemetery land scandal.

The two and Nairobi City Council (NCC) Director of Legal Affairs Mary Ng\’ethe were jointly accused of failing to comply with procurement laws while Mr Kirui was separately accused of abusing his office by improperly authorising payment to M/s Naen Rech Ltd which offered the cemetery land to the City Council for sale.

It is alleged that Mr Gakuo neglected his duty by failing to terminate the procurement tender for the acquisition of the land after serious concerns were raised by the planning department of the council as to its suitability, as expected under the Government Financial Management Act.

Ms Ng\’ethe is alleged to have given a false valuation report in respect of the cemetery land which the council was in the process of acquiring to NCC\’s tender committee which was detrimental to the council.

It was further alleged that Ms Ng\’ethe together with Alexander Musanga Musee as chairperson and secretary to Tender Evaluation Committee, knowingly gave a misleading report of the committee’s minutes.

They all denied the charges and were directed to pay a cash bail of Sh500,000 or Sh1 million surety bond to secure their freedom.

Mr Kirui, Ms Ng\’ethe and Mr Musee were further accused alongside 10 other people with conspiring to defraud the public by acquiring Sh283.2 million from the Local Government Ministry by purporting the sum to be the price payable by the NCC for the cemetery land L.R number 14759/2.

The offenses, chief magistrate Cecelia Githua heard, were allegedly committed between December 2008 and April 2009.

Others accused of defrauding the council are businessman Maina Chege, lawyers Paul Chapia Onduso and Davies Odero Osiemo and Local Government chief finance officer Herman Steven Chavera.

Others were Newton Osiemo, Alphonse Mutinda, Nelson Waswa Otido, Joseph Owino and Daniel Nguku.

Mr Chege, Naen Rech Ltd, Mr Osiemo, Mr Mutinda and Mr Onduso are also said to have fraudulently acquired public property worth Sh281.3 million as proceeds of sale from the cemetery land on February 11, 2009.

Summonses were issued against Mr Mutinda, Mr Onduso, Mr Kojwando and Mr Musee who were not in court on Thursday to enter plea.

They were given each on a cash bail of Sh2.5 million or a surety bond of Sh6 million to secure their freedom pending trial.

Those who were not in court are required to appear on May 12 to take plea and fix hearing dates.

State Prosecutor Edwin Okello indicated that the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission intends to prefer more charges against the accused and arraign in more suspects to court.


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