BY SAM ALFAN.
The high Court has barred Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria from transferring two properties suspected to have been acquired through proceeds of crime.
Justice James Wakiaga restrained Wa Iria and Top Image Media consultants Ltd and Value View Ltd from dealing with the said property pending investigations by the EACC.
“An order prohibiting the Respondents jointly, severally, by themselves, their agents, servants or any other persons from transferring, disposing of or in any other way dealing with properties listed below”, ruled Wakiaga.
In a petition, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission sought to block Wa Iria and Top Image Media consultants Ltd and Value View Ltd, companies associated with him from transferring property in Umoja Innercore known as Nairobi block 83/14/309. Justice James Wakiaga froze any transfer for a period of six months.
EACC also wants to block him and the companies from disposing or dealing with a 5.6 hectares parcel of in MWeiga known Thungare /block II/Therange parcel number 762.
“The court be pleased to issue an order prohibiting the Respondents jointly and severally, by themselves, their agents, servants or any other persons from transferring, disposing of or in any other way dealing with the properties listed below pending conclusion of investigations by the Applicant,” the petition reads.
According to the court documents, the commission received a report regarding allegations of corruption, breach of procurement laws, and conflict of interest in the award of tenders by the County Government of Murang’a.
The report cited Wa Iria as having influenced the award of tenders in the said county in favor of the Top Image Media consultants Ltd, a company owned by his close associates or relatives.
“The Commission is therefore in the course of conducting investigations and has in its preliminary Investigations established that indeed there was an illegal award of media buying tenders by the County Government of Murang’a to the Top Image Media Consultants Ltd Company at a cost of Sh542,610,615. 15 between the years 2013 to 2017,” the documents state.
Further investigations allegedly revealed that the Top Image Media consultants Ltd is owned by Iria’s associates who would subsequently transfer funds received from the County Government of Murang’a to the company directly and indirectly through Value View Ltd.
It also reveals that Top Image Media has also been in direct and indirect receipt of substantial sums of money from the Top Media during the time that he has been the Governor of Murang’a County.
“Investigations established that the 1stRespondent breached the procurement laws in awarding the tender to the 3rd Respondent and in addition directly and indirectly benefited from funds paid to the 3rd Respondent on account of illegal tenders,” the agency added.
The documents stated that he negotiated for and purchased the properties through the proceeds of crime, having received the money from one of the company’s from payment derived from the county government.
“The applicant is apprehensive that the Respondents, in light of the on-going investigations, may in the intervening period, transfer, dispose of or in any other way deal with the properties to defeat the course of justice, before the Applicant has completed its investigations or commenced civil proceedings for recovery,” the agency said in its submission.
The court heard that the recovery of the property will be rendered nugatory if the assets and funds reasonably suspected to constitute the proceeds of corruption and economic crimes, are allowed to dissipate.
“It is therefore necessary to preserve/freeze properties for a period of six months pending conclusion of investigations and institution of recovery proceedings,” EACC said.
Jemimah Githungu, a forensic investigator said she is investigating allegations of corruption, breach of procurement laws and conflict of interest in Murang’a County Government.
She told the court the agency received a report regarding allegations of corruption, breach of procurement laws, and conflict of interest in the award of tenders in the County Government of Murang’a.
She adds that the companies were irregularly awarded various media buying tenders in the County Government of Murang’a between 2014 and 2017 and received more than Sh542 million worth of contracts.