18 June 2019

Kenya: Witness Defends Kidero in Sh213 Million Graft Case, Says Payments Above Board

Nairobi — A witness in Evans Kidero's Sh213 million graft case told the court on Tuesday the money could not have been paid without the approval of the National Treasury and the Controller of Budget.

The Head of Audit at the Nairobi County, Edward Gichanga, while being cross-examined by Senior Counsel James Orengo, said the payments in question did not arise during the 2014/2015 financial year annual audit when the said amount was paid to the two companies.

"The matter was not reported in annual report or questioned by Auditor General and hence there was no money lost," he told trial magistrate Douglas Ogoti.

He said the payments were not questioned in the audit since all county funds were properly budgeted for.

The witness testified that payments of this magnitude could not have been done during the audit of 2013/2014 financial year without his knowledge.

Kidero was been charged together with eight former chief officers in his administration over the alleged loss of Sh213 million.

They have denied a total of 35 counts of corruption and economic crimes including charges of conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, abuse of office, fraudulent acquisition of public property, dealing with suspect property, and unlawful failure to pay tax to a public body.

Robert Ayisi, a former Nairobi Chief Officer in Charge of Health last week tabled in court a total of 21 payment vouchers to two traders - Lodwar Wholesalers Ltd and Ngurumani Traders Ltd.

He told the court that he received a letter from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) while still serving at the county to go and record a statement.

Ayisi said an EACC detective identified as Abdi Mohamed sought among other documents, bank transfers made to the two traders made between March 21, 2014 and December 2016.

In relation to Ngurumani, he said there were 18 folios with transfers totalling to Sh9.4 million.

Others charged alongside Kidero and Ayisi are former County Secretary Lilian Ndegwa, former Chief Finance Officer Jimmy Mutuku Kiamba, former County Executive Committee Member in Charge of Finance and Planning Gregory Mwakanongo, former Accounting Head Stephen Ogago Osiro, former Acting Chief Finance Officer Luke Mugo and former Acting Head of Treasury Maurice Ochieng Okere.

Traders charged are John Githua and Grace Njeri of Lodwar Wholesalers Ltd and Ngurumani Traders Ltd, respectively.

The charges against them stated that they conspired to commit fraud which led to the loss of Sh213,327,300 at the County Government between January 16, 2014 and January 25, 2016.

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