, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – Ten alleged architects of the Sh283 million cemetery scandal who include suspended Local Government Permanent Secretary Sammy Kirui and former Town Clerk John Gakuo were arrested on Tuesday for questioning before facing charges in court.
The top government officials, businessmen and lawyers were picked up from their homes while others were summoned to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) offices in Nairobi where they were recording statements before their court appearance on Wednesday.
“The suspects will spend the night at one of the police stations until tomorrow [Wednesday] when they will appear before the anti-corruption court,” KACC’s spokesman Nicholas Simani told reporters.
He said their officers were pursuing nine other persons who were likely to face similar charges as the held suspects.
A senior detective at the KACC told Capital News that most of the suspects in custody were picked up during dawn raids at their homes in the upmarket neighborhoods of Nairobi.
They include Mary Ngethe, the director of Legal Affairs at City Hall, businessman Maina Chege, lawyers Paul Onduso and Davies Osiemo.
Others are the Chief Finance Officer at the Local Government Ministry Herman Chavera, former PS William Mayaka, businesswoman Mercy Kinyanjui and the Procurement Director at the Local Government Ministry Boniface Okerosi Misera.
A statement from the anti-corruption commission said the suspects were arrested over the irregular purchase of a parcel of land in Machakos for cemetery use.
“The investigation established a well orchestrated fraud in which the Nairobi City Council was misled by its officers in collusion with others into buying a parcel of land unsuitable for the purpose for which it was intended and at a price of Sh283 million, far above the fair market value of land in similar location,” Mr Simani said.
He said they were likely to be charged with a breach of procurement laws and regulations, willful neglect of duty and conspiracy to commit fraud against the public among other possible charges.
The cemetery scandal provoked outrage even among councilors who demanded the resignation of Mayor Geoffrey Majiwa but he has denied any culpability.
Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi has also denied any involvement in the fraud and has filed a case against the KACC and its acting director John Mutonyi for unfairly linking him to the scandal.