NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 25 – Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman Philip Kinisu was on Monday questioned by CID officers over lucrative NYS contracts awarded to a company owned his family.
Kinisu was questioned for about two hours before he left without speaking to journalists who had camped outside the CID Headquarters.
A source at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Headquarters told Capital FM News that the detectives were particularly interested in the NYS transactions and audited accounts of an NGO which he chairs, and which is accused of under-declaring donor funds.
Detectives are seeking to establish if there was conflict of interest in his wife’s company – Esaki Limited – with the National Youth Service whose contracts are under investigation.
Kinisu has denied the allegations, insisting all the contracts with government agencies were sourced and obtained legally.
The troubled anti-graft tsar has previously refuted all the allegations levelled against him and instead accuses undisclosed people of hitting back for his ‘spirited fight’ against corruption.
His family is being accused of transacting suspect dealings worth millions with the National Youth Service through the family business.
“The allegations that have been made against the company and I are unsubstantiated and yet as I speak to you, we have been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion by the deliberate manner in which the matters have been framed and orchestrated,” he complained during a briefing on July 19.
Just like any Kenyan, Kinisu categorically stated that he has a right “to do business” with any government institution.
“Is there a law that prevents any Kenyan citizen or company doing business with a government institution?” he asked. “Why is Esaki Ltd being singled out in a fishing expedition for evidence?”
Questions of conflict of interest have been raised after it emerged that the company has been doing business with government agencies – particularly the National Youth Service whose contracts are under active investigation.
In his defence, Kinisu says that such conflict would only arise if the company was transacting business with the EACC.
He was the director of Esaki Limited during the NYS transactions – a family company registered in 2000 – until April 19 this year, “when I ceased to be a director on account of my commitments at EACC.”
It is a company he says which has been operating legally and in the case of NYS, he insisted that it performed its obligations as per the terms of the contracts, “and was subsequently paid as per the contracts.”
All contracts between the company and NYS, he said were won and executed prior to his appointment as the chairperson of EACC.
In the case of the African Population and Health Research Centre-Kenya (APHRC), detectives want to establish whether it is involved in money laundering amounting to a staggering Sh5 billion.
But Kinisu says all the activities of African Population and Health Research Centre-Kenya (APHRC) are audited while saying he was not aware of any preliminary probe on its activities.
Documents seen by Capital FM News show that the African Population and Health Research Centre-Kenya came under the spotlight in 2015 by the NGOs Coordination Board.
The matter was captured in an internal memo of 2015 at the NGO Board which said: there were claims of “unfair Labour practices, false clean external audits, exaggerated director’s salary and benefits, and appointment of friends to leadership positions.”
The organisation is accused of under declaring sums received in aid to the tune of Sh5 billion over a three year period.
The discrepancies were brought to light by staff at the NGO, who lodged a complaint with the NGO Coordination Board.
In April this year, the NGO Board wrote to the National Intelligence Service notifying them of the probe against the NGO since the chairman is the head of Kenya’s anti graft agency.
The NGO Board was particularly concerned at the involvement of Kinisu in the organisation, considering that his “sensitive” position as the EACC Chairman.
“It is my considered opinion that this matter is extremely sensitive and of high magnitude given his (Kinisu’s) position as chair of the anti-graft body,” the letter by the NGO Coordination Board’s Fazul Mohammed says.
APHRC directors have separately denied the allegations and insisted that all their accounts were audited by International firms.
They also say they were cleared of any queries on regulatory requirements.