BY SAM ALFAN.
Ethics and Anti-Corruption commission has urged the high court to dismiss a petition filed by four officials charged alongside Garissa Governor Ali Korane seeking to quash charges against them over the alleged loss of Sh233 million.
The anti-graft commission told the court that the petition by Garissa Municipal Board Manager Abdi Bulle, chief of finance Ibrahim Nur Shurie, Head of Treasury Mohamed Abdullahi and Head of Accounting Garissa Municipal Board Ahmed Aden is frivolous, vexatious, and clear abuse of court process.
The commission says the petition was filed to circumvent the trial and getting the high Court to sit and determine issues for the trial court without giving the commission the benefit of considering all evidence it collected in the course of investigations.
“Petitioners by seeking an order that the court do make a prima facie finding pending hearing and determination of the Petition that no criminal offence obtains in their impugned act, is a kin to getting a no case to answer without considering all the evidence collected in the course of investigations, ” the commission said
The commission added that the fact that the funds were refunded does not negate the fact that an offence was committed by the petitioners when they reallocated funds that were as a grant in breach of the PFM Act.
The EACC says their action constitute an offence under 45 (2) (b) and 47 a of ACECA and whether or not a refund exonerated the petitioners, is an issue of the trial court.
“Petitioners have not demonstrated any illegality, procedural unfairness, bias, abuse of power and unreasonableness on the part of the DPP and EACC in the way they carried their investigations that led to their prosecution and they have not demonstrated how their rights were violated or are threatened to be violated.
“Contrary to what they allege, the petitioners were accorded an opportunity in the course of investigations to give their own account of what transpired and recorded statements, but the evidence gathered against them demonstrated they had committed an offence, ” said the commission.
The anti-graft agency said through their forensic investigator Justus Wangia, the commission simply carried its constitutional and statutory mandates of combating corruption and economic crimes.
EACC says there was no ulterior motives or malice in the investigations involving the misappropriation of donors funds that were given to Garissa county government by World Bank for the benefit of people of Garissa.
The agency adds that after the county government received Sh233, 506,000 through the Kenya Urban Support Program (Municipal Board) the funds were transferred or re-allocated to other county projects in breach of Public Finance Management Act, (PFMA).
According to the court documents, Sh41 million Garissa KUSP-institutional Grant, Sh21,663, 000 million Garissa Health County Donor, Sh30 million Garissa Water Department, Sh 2 million Garissa Health County Donor the funds were transferred to bank accounts held at first community bank and Sh30 million from Garissa Water and Sewerage company to a bank account held at Kcb Bank.
Commission told the court the payments were done contrary to regulations and guidelines as envisaged by the KUSP Financial management manual in breach of Public Finance management Act.
“It is also key to note that the Sh41 million transfered from the UDG account to the UIG account was subsequently thereafter used to pay suppliers who had purportedly supplied goods and services to Garissa county and to pay imprest to certain members of the staff, ” added the agency
Commission further adds that the only bonifide payments as of February 2020 were the payments to Aspire Kenya limited being Sh18 million for the construction of Qurohey Market and Sh28 million paid to Modern Transbridge for Re-carpeting and beautification of CBD roads.
EACC further told the court that when Petitioners learnt of the investigations, millions of funds were returned to the Garissa County Kenya Urban Support Program account.