BY KAMORE MAINA
The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission is today expected to arrest and prosecute three associates of Cabinet minister Charity Ngilu over multimillion-shilling deals at the Water Ministry. The Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko has directed KACC to arrest and prosecute Ngilu’s son-in-law Billy Indeche, Tourism assistant minister Cecily Mbarire’s husband Dennis Apaa and businessman Michael Njeru, who is associated with a top politician.
The DPP has at the same time directed KACC to probe Ngilu afresh because she had not been questioned in an earlier investigation over her role in awarding the contracts. The three are directors of BroadVisions Utilities Ltd, a company which has been investigated over how it obtained contracts at Maji House.
A number of senior ministry officials involved in the contracts are among those expected to be arrested and arraigned in court. Yesterday Tobiko told the Star that the three will face, among other charges, conspiracy to defraud, violation of procurement procedures, fraudulent acquisition of public property and obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and uttering false documents.
Tobiko said his decision was based on the evidence produced by the investigation team and not political pressure. Tobiko said he had defied political pressure in making the decision and had relied on the evidence by the KACC. “There has been a lot of political pressure for us to make a decision on the matter. However I have made the decision on the basis of the evidence produced and not political pressure,” Tobiko said yesterday.
He declined to reveal the names of the politicians who were pushing him to make the decision on the cases and what their interests are. Ngilu has in the past accused Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka of being behind her troubles, an accusation the VP has always denied.
Sources told the Star that a senior politician had called the DPP asking why he was yet to prosecute Ngilu over the water deals. Ngilu will now face a fresh probe by (KACC) over allegations that she had commissioned the multimillion-shilling Nduguiri Dam in Ukambani which was not in use.
Tobiko said he had asked KACC to categorically confirm if the dam commissioned by Ngilu was not operational. He said the only allegation made against Ngilu is that she commissioned the dam, which is not in operation. “No other allegations have been made against her,” Tobiko said.
At the same time Tobiko has asked KACC to confirm that another borehole commissioned by Youth and Sports assistant minister Wavinya Ndeti and Water PS actually do exist. The KACC had recommended to Tobiko that Ngilu be prosecuted for abuse of office after she commissioned an incomplete borehole in Kangundo.
Former Water assistant minister Mwangi Kiunjuri (now in Public Works) in October last year sparked off an exchange with Ngilu when he claimed corruption was rife in the ministry of Water. Ngilu denied the allegations and instead accused Kiunjuri of pushing for the interests of businessmen owed money by the ministry.
After the reshuffle, Kiunjuri lodged an official complaint with the KACC where he was questioned about the allegations and presented evidence to support his claims. Kiunjuri said the awarding of contracts at the Water ministry was not transparent and may have led to huge losses of public funds. Kiunjuri also claimed there was nepotism in the award of tenders.
Kiunjuri accused Ngilu of engineering his transfer from the ministry. He told the KACC and a Parliamentary Committee probing the matter that up to eight companies and a non-governmental organisation that had close links to Ngilu were awarded contracts by the ministry thereby presenting a conflict of interest as this was not disclosed to the procurement committee.
The Lands and Natural Resources Committee on 14 April cleared Ngilu saying it had not found any evidence of wrongdoing. Kiunjuri accused the committee of bias saying it had ignored all incriminating evidence and relied only on evidence meant to exonerate Ngilu.
The committee took five months to investigate the claims before tabling its report in Parliament. “There is no evidence that the Minister for Water and Irrigation is linked to contractors, consultants and dam experts or whether she used her office to influence their award of contracts for construction of dams,” the committee chaired by Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi said in its report.