NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – Kenya’s Tourism Permanent Secretary Rebecca Nabutola and former Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) Managing Director Dr Ongong’a Achieng’, were charged on Thursday over the irregular payment of Sh8.9 million to a tour company. The two, together with a member of the Board of Directors of the KTB, Duncan Muriuki, appeared before the Anti-Corruption court and denied the abuse of office charges.
They were released on a cash bail of Sh500,000 or an alternative bond of Sh1 million each until their case is heard in August.
The charges followed recommendations by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC), which had been forwarded to the Attorney General last month.
“This is the case involving investigations on the illegal payments of money to a tour company that coordinated with the tour to Maasai Mara recently. It was widely covered in the media,” said Nicholas Simani, the KACC spokesman.
The tour involved a visit to the Mara by President Mwai Kibaki and 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 blames the PS and the former KTB boss for failing to follow 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,” according to a statement from KACC in April.
The statement stated that Mrs Nabutola was to be charged with the offence of abuse of office contrary to Section 46 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003 and wilful failure to comply with the law relating to procurement contrary to Section 45(2) (b) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003.
Dr Achieng’ is to face similar charges with an alternative charge of abuse of office contrary to Section 46 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003.
“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.
Mr Muriuki will be charged with the offence of conflict of interest contrary to Section 42(3) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003.