Kenya: Rotich Arrest - Kenya's Justice System on Yet Another Trial

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji shook the nation on Monday morning with his order for the arrest of Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich over allegations of graft in the Kimwarer and Arror dams saga.

In the multibillion-shilling phantom project, the Sh65 billion dams only appear in the fertile imagination of Kerio Valley Development Authority officials and the Treasury, which are now under investigations.

Mr haji said he was satisfied that economic crimes were committed after he analysed evidence presented by Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti.

Mr Rotich and 27 others are facing charges of fraud, abuse of office and financial misconduct and even though the arrests do not guarantee big-fish convictions, the public is reminded of other high-ranking leaders who have, in the recent past, been 'guests of the State'.

In addition, debate on whether the arrests are sideshows has been revived, the Jubilee Party administration having been rocked by numerous corruption scandals since 2013.

Among the government officials who have been arrested on various graft allegations are:

Lillian Omollo, former Youth and Gender Affairs Principal Secretary

In May 2018, Ms Omollo was arrested alongside several officials of the National Youth Service as well as members of the Ngirita family following the NYS scandal II in which over Sh900 million was lost in unscrupulous procurement deals.

Ms Omollo, one of the key suspects, is still in court fighting for the release of Sh33 million in several bank accounts that were frozen.

She claimed that the money was proceeds form an agricultural venture in Siaya County.

Richard Lesiyampe, former Agriculture Principal Secretary

Mr Lesiyampe was arrested by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission over the irregular purchase of maize worth Sh11 billion by the National Cereals and Produce Board in August 2018.

The EACC said he was apprehended alongside the NCPB's Finance General Manager Cornel Kiprotich Ng'elechey.

Later that August, Mr Lesiyampe denied charges of irregular purchase of maize worth Sh5.6 billion

He appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Felix Kombo at the Milimani Law Courts alongside Mr Kiprotich and NCPB Managing Director Newton Teter.

They were released on a cash bail of Sh3 million each.

Thuita Mwangi, former Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary

Mr Mwangi was charged with approving purchase of a property for the Kenyan embassy in Japan at 1.75 billion Japanese yen (Sh1.07 billion) in contravention of procurement procedure.

He was also accused of defrauding the government of 318.7 million yen (Sh297.8 million), being the difference between the actual price paid and 1.431 billion yen (Sh1.34 billion) assessed by the government valuer.

As a parliamentary committee's investigation went on, Mr Mwangi and then Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang'ula were forced to step aside for 10 months and were reinstated.

Mr Mwangi was arraigned on February 28 and released on a cash bail of Sh2 million.

Moses Lenolkulal, Samburu Governor

EACC) detectives arrested the governor in April over a Sh 84-million fuel-supply scandal.

"The investigations established that the governor was trading with the county government through Oryx Service Station for the supply of fuel since the March 27, 2013 to date," the DPP said in a statement.

"The governor failed, and/or neglected, to disclose his interest in the said service station. It is clear that the governor engaged in conduct that is expressly prohibited in law and in clear violation of the constitutional principles governing the conduct of public and State officers."

Mr Lenolkulal denied the corruption charges in April and was released on a cash bail of Sh100 million or a bond of Sh150 million.

Ferdinand Waititu, Kiambu Governor

Mr Waititu, his wife Susan Wangari and their daughter Monica Njeri, the directors of M/S Testimony Enterprise, are being sought alongside top county officials over alleged graft relating to Sh588 million road tenders.

EACC detectives arrested Mr Waititu in Nairobi in May after more than six hours of interrogation and a search at his Runda home In May this year.

The commission recommended that the governor be charged with conflict of interest, dealing with suspect property, abuse of office and fraudulent acquisition of Sh221 million public property.

Evans Kidero, former Nairobi Governor

Dr Kidero and top officials in his government were arrested by EACC detectives in April over allegations that the Nairobi City County made an illegal payment of Sh68 million to the law firm of Wachira Mburu, Mwangi & Company Advocates.

The DPP directed that the suspects be charged with, among other offences, conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, abuse of office, unlawful acquisition of public property, dealing with suspect money and money laundering.

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