BY SAM ALFAN.
High Court has frozen eight bank accounts belonging former Nyandarua County chief of finance Michael Kamau Kuria, his relatives and several business entities for a period of six months pending investigations into allegations of embezzlement of over Sh 115 million.
Justice Mumbi Ngugi of the Ant-Corruption Court prohibited them from transferring or in way dealing with the money in eight bank accounts held at equity bank after EACC file an application seeking to have the respondents barred from accessing the monies in the said accounts.
Those affected are Kamau, his wife Catherine Wanjiku Njeri, Agnes Wanjiku (mother) and his business partner Henry Njoroge Githaiga, Wanjohi Contractors and General Supplies Limited, Olkalau Ventures , Kianjuiri General Contractors and Supplies limited, Kiambaga Enterprise, Githioro Contractors and General Supplies Limited , Jilsu General Contractors and supplies limited , Silverdola General Contractors and Supplies , Rurii Enterprise and Gachomba and Company Properties limited.
“I hereby issue an order prohibiting the respondents herein by either themselves or their agents or servants not to in any way transferring , disposing,charging, wasting or dealing with the listed properties for a period of six months,” ruled the Judge.
The respondents were further barred from dealing with twelve other properties namely Dundori/lanet block 5/2232(kiamunyeki ‘A’), Dundori/lanet block 5/1014 (kiamunyeki ‘A’), Dagoretti /kinoo/47, Dagoretti /kinoo/3213, Dagoretti /kinoo/4469, Kiambu/Municipality/block 1/233, Kikuyu/Kikuyu/Block 1/891, Limuru /Kirenga/T.218, Kikuyu/Kikuyu/block 1/1125, Dagoretti/Kinoo/4210/ Dagoretti/Kinoo/4211, Limuri/kirenga/T.225.
They were further prohibited from transferring or dealing in any way with four motor vehicles Reg Nos KCB 253B , KCH 101P , KCF 410P and KCE 039 L for a period of six months pending probe.
Justice Ngugi issued the orders after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption commission filed a certificate of urgency seeking orders to prohibit respondents from dealing with said to money, land and motor vehicles to enable them to investigate allegations of embezzlement of public funds , irregular procurement, bribery , abuse of office and conflict of interest by current and former public officials of the Nyandarua County Government.
In the affidavit sworn affidavit by agency through investigating officer Abel Tunga Marevu said investigation has so far revealed Kamau is associated directly with or through proxy companies and business firms which have been trading with Nyandarua county government contrary to the law.
The commission says that preliminary investigation show that Kamau and companies associated with him received substantial amount of funds Sh 115,067,224 from Nyandarua County Government in suspicious procurement dealings between January 2014 and December 2017
In documents filed in court show that funds were used to acquire properties including motor vehicles registered in the name of Michael Kamau and Gachomba and company properties limited where he is a mandatory signatory to the accounts.
“EACC is apprehensive that with the above discovery and ongoing investigations , the said properties are at risk of being transferred , sold, charged or otherwise wasted thereby occasioning great losses to the public coffers and jeopardizing recovery of the properties”, the commission said.
The commission said it is necessary to prohibit any dealings with the above properties to enable it complete its investigations, to obviate a situation whereby the investigations and the intended recovery or restitution proceedings may be compounded or rendered nugatory altogether.
EACC added that investigations are likely to take some time and in the absence of a preservation order, the subjects were likely to interfere with the properties to the detriment of the public.
The companies were awarded various tenders at Nyandarua County Government through procurement irregularities, double award of tenders , conflict of interest, abuse of office, bribery and corruption.
The awards were facilitated by senior employees of Nyandarua County Government where they colluded to invite only the above stated select number of companies all associated with Michael Kamau Kuria to bid for tenders to the exclusion of all prequalified suppliers.
The companies allegedly illegally and deceptively quoted prices in an attempt to complete against themselves with the lowest bid still being above the prevailing market prices.
“Once the companies received payments from the County Government of Nyandarua the funds were withdrawn in cash from the company accounts with further substantial amounts being channeled to the account of Gachomba and Company properties limited where Kamau is a mandatory signatory to the accounts,” said the investigating officer.
The officer said Kamau had hidden a significant number of the procurement files and it took the intervention of the court through search warrant issued on February 28,2018 for them to be discovered at one of his properties, The Villa Moran Apartments which sits on Dagoretti /Kinoo/47.
EACC claims that has so far discovered 14 procurement files involving the on-going probe. He said the action of Kamau and circumstances under which the properties were acquired amount to corruption and economic crimes.