, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 22 – Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has now written to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) seeking to confirm if Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s sister Beryl Okumu had paid back money unlawfully acquired from the Kenya Railways Staff Benefit Scheme.
In a letter dated January 18, 2012, Tobiko wants the EACC to write back to him by Monday January 23, 2012 to enable him decide whether or not to proceed with the prosecution on Raila’s sister because she has been summoned to appear in court on Tuesday.
Tobiko said he had received a letter from Mugambi Imanyara and Company Advocates acting for Beryl, saying their client had already paid back the Sh1.5 million owed to the pension scheme.
A copy of the cheque detailing the payment is also attached in the letter sent to the DPP’s office on Wednesday last week, a day after Beryl failed to appear in court to face related charges.
“To enable us decide whether to continue with the prosecution of the above mentioned case, do urgently confirm from the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefit Scheme whether that is the correct position,” Tobiko wrote in the letter obtained by Capital News.
To stress the urgency of the matter, the DPP said: “I would appreciate if I could have your response on or before the 23 January 2012.”
Tobiko’s letter is addressed to Jane Muthaura, the acting Secretary and Chief Executive of the EACC at Integrity centre.
Okumu is charged with unlawful acquisition of public property contrary to section 45 (1) as read with section 48 (1) of the Anti Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.
She is accused of having unlawfully acquired public property to wit Sh1, 512 653 from the funds of the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefit scheme contrary to the regulations of the scheme.
She has been summoned to appear in court on Tuesday next week after she failed to attend a court session on Tuesday last week.
She was to appear in court alongside suspended Chief Executive Officer Mathews Kipchumba Tuikong, Ephantus Muriithi Githui and acting CEO Caroline Nkirote Nyororo, who were charged for aiding her to illegally acquire a further Sh2.7 million from the scheme.
They denied the charges and were released on a Sh1 million bond with a surety of a similar amount or an alternative cash bail of Sh400, 000.
The three are accused of allegedly approving the payment of Sh2.1 million for the personal expenses incurred by the chairperson in ‘utter contravention of the law relating to the management of scheme funds.’
Githui together with Nyororo also face a separate count of approving Sh598, 875 from the scheme to settle the personal expenses of the PM’s sister between October 2010 and January 2011.
Okumu has been chairperson of Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme since 2008. The Railways retirement scheme owns prime property across Kenya and in Nairobi worth an estimated Sh19 billion.
The scheme was established in 2006 after the concessioning of the Rift Valley Railways as a pension scheme for former Kenya Railways employees.
In October 2010 the chief executive Tuikong was sent on leave and was replaced in an acting capacity by Nyororo, the then pension scheme’s estate manager.
The scheme was also sued over the irregular sale of property owned by Kenya Railways retired staff in October 2010.
Three pensioners sued the board of trustees for mismanaging the scheme; failing to prepare and file annual financial statements; failing to pay monthly dues to the pensioners and failing to convene an annual general meeting.