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Arrest of Revenue Officers Exposes deeply Ingrained Schemes Diverting Revenue at City Hall

Jan 23, 2024
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The arrest of two Nairobi County officials over revenue diversion has opened the lid on what could be a deep rooted revenue diversion scheme that has the blessing of senior officers at the county.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption (EACC) arrested two officers identified as Daniel Odidi Ganje, the Officer-In-Charge of the Data Office at St. Peter Cleavers Revenue offices in Starehe Sub-County, and John Gachagua Mburu, a Mt. Kenya University Student attached at the said Revenue Offices.

Mburu is an intern who is suspected to have been used numerous times to divert revenue.

They have spent days at the Kilimani Police Station cells and were scheduled to be arraigned after full processing by the police and EACC.

The EACC and police are convinced the two were involved  in diversion of county revenue through manipulation of the Nairobi Revenue Services portal to fraudulently reflect full payment.

The suspects had asked the complainant, who had visited the Revenue Offices to make payment of annual parking fees for his commercial vehicles amounting to Kes. 45,000, to deposit the money for the service to a private bank account belonging to John Gachagua. In exchange, he would be allowed to pay a lesser amount.

To confirm to the complainant that it was possible to help him escape full payment if he agreed to the deal, the suspects entered the registration details of the complainant’s vehicle in the revenue portal which indicated that he had paid.

The complainant was able to verify that the portal indicated full payment of the parking fees for the whole year, even without depositing any amount.

Read also: How City Hall’s Clerical Officer is using Family Members, Friends to Loot

Diversion of revenue is entrenched in several county governments, making the devolved units not meet their revenue targets, with some performing poorer than the municipalities that existed before them.

City Hall has been under the EACC and DCI radar over suspected revenue diversion with officers from finance, parking,KRA and other related sectors believed to be fraudulently bagging millions.

EACC and DCI have been working together to try and unpack allegations that senior officers have given their juniors daily targets lest they have their jobs jeopardized.

The arrest of the two officers has allegedly send the KRA and finance officers in panic mode.

The new development comes a day after some concerned parties and residents raised fears that Governor Johnson Sakaja has successfully hatched a plan to sabotage and halt the investigations by an ad-hoc committee on revenue collection.

Proceedings  of the ad-hoc committee failed to kick off last week but were expected to resume on 23rd January 2024.

There have been fears that the governor and a section of the  committee members may have reached agreement to let the matter ‘die naturally’.

Key witnesses who were supposed to appear for grilling failed to show up.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officers, CEC Finance Charles Kerich and Benson Njoroge did not show up despite confirming their commitment to the proceedings.

A letter from Acting County Secretary Patrick Analo explained that county officers who had been scheduled to appear before the committee were attending a pre-scheduled training.

The county requested that the meeting happens on  January 22, 2024, at 10:00am but according to sources,some of the committee members have met governor Sakaja for ‘directions’ over the proceedings.

The committee’s chairman Peter Imwatok has been adamant that the proceedings won’t be jeopardized.

The committee has previously been told by senior revenue and finance officers that the county has been underperforming in revenue collection because of system failures.

It has also been revealed before the committee  that the systems used by the county government have never been registered as companies.

The county has been on the spotlight over suspected revenue diversion with detectives pursuing cases where huge amounts of money are being wired direct to county officials from suspected corruption dealings and revenue diversion.

EACC is now suspecting that high ranking officials both at the executive and the assembly are beneficiaries of revenue diversion.

Finance Executive Charles Kerich and Asha Abdi the Chief Officer Finance are believed to be in the mix and could be asked to record statements after the arrest of the two officers.

Some disgruntled MCAs who are aware of what is happening now want  the EACC and DPP to quickly act on the matter.

Some of the MCAs have questioned the role of independent institutions that have been investigating officers especially at the Finance and Procurement Departments but rarely act on the matter despite overwhelming evidence for possible prosecution.

The county executive is also under scrutiny for misuse of bank overdrafts that do not meet merit from the county assembly and as required by the PFM Act.

Still on revenue collection, senior County Officials remain on police radar for  alleged colluding with top banks in the country to divert revenue.

Investigations had initially revealed that the county’s  three accounts at Cooperative Bank and another secret account have been used immensely to divert revenue.

The county’s accounts are held at Equity Bank and Cooperative Bank in the name of Nairobi City County Government.

Despite the two accounts, KRA while appearing at the Ad hoc committee made it clear that once the funds are collected, they are transferred into the County Revenue Fund (CRF).

Pursuant to the Gazette Notice No.1609 of February 25, 2020, and Gazette Notice 1967 of March 6, 2020, KRA was appointed as the principal agent for the overall collection of all Nairobi County Revenue.

The authority was involved in the collection of revenue on behalf of NCCG from March 16, 2020, to September 15, 2022, as per the deed of transfer.

Read also: Why DCI Officers Probing Fraudulent Payments at City Hall Transferred

KRA was to exit in September 2022 following the expiry of the deed.

Governor Sakaja enabled the secret extension of KRA’s revenue dealings at City Hall despite the expiry of the deed of transfer.

Annastaciah Githuba who is the Deputy Commissioner of the County Revenue Division told  the ad hoc committee  that she leads a team of nine people who are collecting revenue on behalf of the county.

“I received a letter from the Governor in December requesting I come to assist in the transition process,” she said.

After the expiry of the deed of transfer in September, Githuba said she was redeployed to KRA to do the monthly rental income and domestic services.

Apart from revenue diversion,the county has also been on the spot over the unchecked and unending cases of companies that haven’t supplied anything getting paid millions of shillings.

DCI boss Mohamed Amin last year   questioned how nine companies were paid millions without proper procedure. Some of the companies are also beneficiaries of revenue diversion.

The DCI  through the then head of investigations Bureau at the DCI headquarters David Birech, wrote to Sakaja demanding a list of tender documents, issued to nine companies suspected to have been used to siphon millions from City Hall.

The nine companies are Brigit West Limited, Future Link Limited, AR Pharmaceuticals Limited, Larsen Investment Company, Burasha General Suppliers Limited, Tweem Limited, Cloud Mobile Technologies Limited, Istanbul Investment Limited and Ramecon Engineering Limited.

The DCI is still investigating  requisitions by the user department, award contracts, delivery and inspection reports and all local purchase orders.

Some of the staff include, Kevin Musamia who was employed as a clerical officer after working for long as an  attachee under roads and public works.

Kevin Musamia who was employed as a clerical officer but has grown to be an untouchable cartel and tenderpreneur at City Hall.

Kevin, who is known to be an extravagant spender on women’s life luxuries indirectly owns a company by the name Felista Queen Akosa that is managed by his mother.

Others are Ambrose Musau, Vivian Mavua, Beth Muthoni, Denis Muia, Brian Oyando, one who does work plans for the county, Richard Mogoko the  head of procurement who has gained massive from corruption dealings, his main clients are suppliers and contractors from the Somali community and a few Kikuyus, he is currently building state-of-the-art-house.

Richard Mogoko head of procurement

There is also  Stephen Mafura,  Mary Maina Wangui girlfriend to former acting county secretary Jairus Musumba, Peter Gitau from procurement, Martha Wambugu among others.

Mary Maina Wambui who works at Finance sector, she currently posted at Examination and Validation Office

Detectives are also pursuing similar cases where huge amounts of money are being  wired direct to county officials from suspected corruption dealings.

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