NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 10 – Former Tourism Permanent Secretary Rebecca Nabutola has been jailed for four years while ex-Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Achieng Ong’ong’a will serve three years in prison after they were found guilty of defrauding the ministry of Sh8.9 million.
In addition, Nabutola is required to pay a fine of Sh1 million and in default serve a further two years in jail, while Ong’ong’a will pay Sh1.5 million or serve two more years.
Tour Operator Duncan Muriuki was sent to prison for seven years without the option of a fine.
Muriuki will also pay Sh17.8 million in fines or serve three years in default.
Anti corruption court magistrate Lucy Nyambura also directed Muriuki to refund Sh800,000 to the Republic of Kenya and a further Sh500,000 to the government failure to which he will serve a further one year in prison.
In her findings Nyambura said the prosecution had proved the case against the trio.
“I have considered all the evidence and the mitigation. It is clear that they were entrusted with public funds which trusts they abused,” Nyambura said.
It is my findings that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and the accused must be punished accordingly.
The trio was charged in May 2009 following recommendations by the then Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, now known as the EACC.
The case involved investigations in the illegal payments of money to a tour company that coordinated a visit to the Mara by President Mwai Kibaki and other top government officials.
According to the prosecutors, the 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 laid down regulations.
“The Permanent Secretary participated in appointing the said tour company and indeed communicated the appointment to the 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 of 2009.
Nabutola was later 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.
Ong’ong’a faced similar charges with an alternative charge of abuse of office contrary to Section 46 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003.
He was charged with fraudulently making payment from public revenues for services not rendered contrary to Section 45(2)(a)iii of the said Act.
Muriuki was charged with the offence of conflict of interest contrary to Section 42(3) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003.
In mitigation Nabutola defended the trip to the Maasai Mara game reserve that included several government dignitaries. During the three-day tour, Nabutola said the participants visited various hotels and resorts in the game reserve and held meetings with stakeholders in tourism, security personnel and local authorities on ways to improve the sector.