NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 22 – Tourism Assistant Minister Cecily Mbarire and her husband Dennis Apaa escaped arrest by a whisker on Monday morning after they learnt of a sting operation that had been set up by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission as they allegedly tried to bribe its Director PLO Lumumba over the Water Ministry scam.
Prof Lumumba told journalists that the couple had been trying to bribe him for several weeks now, unaware that he had a clue of their mission.
“A sting operation was organised but it has not succeeded because the individuals were tipped off but I can confirm to you that I received an SMS from Cecily Mbarire that she could not attend and I have also received SMS messages from Mr Dennis Apaa in his attempt to meet me with a view to compromise me,” Prof Lumumba said.
The anti corruption czar revealed that the two were to take deliver some Sh100,000 at 6.30am on Monday morning and discuss further considerations of an offer of more money to interfere with investigations on Mr Apaa over multi-million contracts at the Water Ministry.
Prof Lumumba even took journalists to a room adjacent to his office at Integrity Centre where he showed journalists a series of text messages from the couple and documents showing how the Monday morning meeting had been arranged, as part of the sting operation that was aimed to have them arrested and prosecuted.
“We had made all these arrangements with my technical team since last (Sunday) night. (My team and I) were in the office from as early as 4.30 am waiting for them,” he added.
However, in a brief statement to newsrooms on Monday afternoon, the Tourism Assistant Minister dismissed the allegations made against her and her husband as “malicious rumours.’
“The allegations made this morning by the Director of the Kenya Anti Corruption (Commission), PLO Lumumba, are false, untrue, and malicious and can only be interpreted to malign my name and character in the eyes of the public,” she said in a statement.
“I am currently consulting my lawyers and I will be issuing a comprehensive statement tomorrow (Tuesday),” she added.
She had earlier convened a press conference at Parliament buildings but cancelled it at the last minute.
Prof Lumumba had told the media that it was the first time individuals were trying to bribe him personally to influence his decision on cases under probe by the commission.
Prior to Monday morning’s planned meeting, Prof Lumumba said the couple had fallen prey to various set-ups by the commission which undertook undercover techniques to even invite them to various functions and fundraising ceremonies.
One such meeting was organised when Mr Apaa and the KACC Director attended a prize giving day at a secondary school.
“I then received guidance from my technical team and I invited him to my residence in the presence of other persons and the individual did attend. I was then advised to invite the individual to yet another function and we obtained photographic evidence, and I can confirm that the individual attended and photographs are available,” said Prof Lumumba.
Prof Lumumba said during a fundraising at Lucy Onono Memorial Polytechnic, the couple was allegedly invited and presented a Sh100,000 cheque bearing the name of company known as Broad Visions and written to the PLO Foundation but it was returned to them because it was not properly addressed.
He said the company is associated to Mr Apaa.
“Unfortunately we did not keep a copy of this particular cheque, you see these are the techniques they were using thinking that they were clever than us unaware that we were way ahead of them,” he added.
Thereafter, the KACC director said, the individual kept calling him repeatedly.
“I have already recorded a statement with the CID and they are pursuing this matter,” he added.
“This is a very serious matter, that individuals can plan to bribe the KACC director to scuttle investigations on corruption,” Prof Lumumba said and revealed that he had already recommended prosecution against Ms Mbarire’s husband.
Prof Lumumba said a file containing the KACC recommendation to prosecute Mr Apaa was among several others on the Water Ministry scam forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further direction.
The KACC chief did not disclose contents of the files.