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KACC acts on Kenya tourism fiasco

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 22 – Kenya’s anti-graft body announced on Wednesday it had recommended the prosecution of Tourism Permanent Secretary Rebecca Nabutola and former Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) Managing Director Dr Achieng’ Ong’ong’a over the irregular payment of Sh8.9 million to a tour company.

A statement from the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) said recommendations for the prosecution of the two officials had been sent to the Attorney General Amos Wako for consent.

“This is the case involving investigations on the illegal payments of money to a tour company that coordinated the tour to Maasai Mara recently. It was widely covered in the media,” Mr Simani said when reached on telephone. 

He did not give the names of the individuals concerned but Capital News  independently established that it was Ms Nabutola and Mr Ong’ong’a who were at the centre of the fiasco.

The tour involved a visit to the Maasai Mara by President Mwai Kibaki and other top government officials.

Mr Simani said investigations had revealed that procurement procedures were flouted in awarding the tender to the firm that organised the tour and blamed the PS and the former KTB boss for failing to follow the laid down procedures.

“The Permanent Secretary participated in appointing the said tour company and indeed communicated the appointment to Catering and Tourism Development Levy Trustees. She also issued instructions for payment of a further Sh400,000 to the said tour company despite the fact that the sum of Sh8,925,444, which was highly exaggerated, had not been accounted for,” the statement from KACC stated.  

According to the details, Ms Nabutola is to be charged with the abuse of office contrary to Section 46 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003 and wilfully failing to comply with the law relating to procurement contrary to Section 45(2) (b) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.

Dr Ong’ong’a is to face a similar case with an alternative charge of abuse of office contrary to Section 46 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.

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“He is also recommended to be charged with fraudulently making payment from public revenues for services not rendered contrary to Section 45(2)(a)iii of the said Act,” the statement read in part.

A member of KTB Board who is also a director of the tour company will face charges for the offence of conflict of interest contrary to Section 42(3) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.

Mr Simani told Capital News the three officials would only face charges in court once the Attorney General gives consent to the KACC recommendations that are contained in a report dated March 31 2009.

The KACC proposal was forwarded to Mr Wako’s office on April 1.

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