The nascent administration of the Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja is facing fresh hurdles posed by a web of well-connected cartels targeting to make a kill through extortion from suppliers and senior county staff members being blackmailed to yield to their demands, investigations by The Informer Media Group have revealed.
According to insiders, among the hardest hit departments targeted by the group include Finance, Procurement, Planning and Environment departments respectively.
The group that is fond of name dropping pretending to holding brief for the senior county leadership is allegedly said to be controlled by a former Nairobi Member of the County Assembly (MCA) who unsuccessfully defended his seat.
“The group has perfected the art of projecting political card because of their perceived or real closeness to the political leadership at the helm Nairobi County for intimidation and manipulating senior officers notably the County Executive Committee Members (CECs) and Chief Officers. In particular, they push for payments of monies owed to suppliers by the county who are then forced to forfeit a certain percentage of the paid amount.” Our source intimated.
The group is also adversely mentioned in a fake employment racket accused of alleged extortion and bribery in pretext that they could facilitate their victims secure employment opportunities at the Nairobi County government.
“One of the former MCA involved in these schemes is identifying himself as the liaison political officer to the governor’s office. Members of the staff are afraid of confronting him for fears of possible reprisal including orchestrating impeachment motions for the case of CECs and Chief Officers in the assembly where they have their co-conspirators.” Our source added.
In what points to a brazen employment fraud, the racket is said to have pocketed the loot amounting to tens of millions during the recruitment of the 51 Nairobi County Chief Officers and some of the prospective beneficiaries are now demanding their money back after they failed to secure the lucrative positions.
The scheme also implicates a senior official currently serving at the Nairobi County Assembly.
Bribery is a crime committed by both the giver of and the receiver.
“One of the people who allegedly gave out the money has severally confronted the County Assembly official demanding his Sh1million back. He was promised the money would enable him secure the highly paying job.” Our source intimated.
The Nairobi governor is now facing a maiden litmus test to stem out the intricate that is said to be intimidating senior official.
When contacted for comment, Sakaja was not available for comment.
“We want investigative bodies to move in with speed to investigate this matter. The group is even threatening to having CECs and Chief Officers sacked if they don’t yield to their demands. Suppliers mostly private garbage contractors have also become easy targets for extortion because the county owes them huge amounts of money in form of arrears.” Our source added.
All Sakaja’s predecessors among them Evans Kidero, Mike Mbuvi Sonko and Anne Kananu have separately in their course of their respective tenures decried over shadowy and unnamed cartels sabotaging their efforts to stump out corruption at City Hall.
In 2016, Kidero publicly lamented over an intricate cartel of suppliers and private garbage accused of being behind clandestine fictitious payments through generating fake invoices and exaggerating prices of procure items or tonnage of collected garbage.
“I am putting on notice ghost business people, suppliers of air and those who continue to manufacture invoices and deliver to city hall and get paid. I will personally ensure that they are prosecuted and immediate action taken against Nairobi County government staff who continues to encourage this bad habit of fleecing the County government. We are here to offer services to Nairobians and ensure the city is restored back to its old glory and this cannot be achieved by paying air suppliers.” Kidero said.
Kidero made the confession at a fundraising function in aid of upgrading of Maxwell SDA church’s multi-level car park facility and a school in Nairobi.
He decried that his leadership has faced challenges in tackling land cartels, garbage collectors those who dump garbage on our roads illegally and ghost business people.
In December 2015, twenty-four contracted private garbage collectors were paid in excess of Sh200 after staging a mass go-slow protesting delayed payments by City hall.
In 2013, Kidero blacklisted twenty-four companies said to have been involved in air supply.
However, some were controversially cleared by a taskforce appointed by governor’s office.
In 2017, former Nairobi County Finance and Economic Planning Gregory Mwakanongo CEC and former Chief Finance Officer Luke Gatimu over contested Sh71.8million controversial legal fee was made in a record of six months to Koceyo and Co. Advocates.
Through an internal memo, then County Attorney Gad Awuonda questioned the prudence of the payment to Koceyo and Co. Advocates terming the cost as unnecessary liabilities.
The anti-graft agency flagged the payments in June this year.
On June 30, 2017, six different payments were made to the same law firm amounting to Sh26, 328, 269 vide cheque numbers 014831, 014832, 016161, 016162, 016163 and 016164 respectively.
“A payment of Sh71.8million to a single advocate in a period of six months cannot be justified in terms of priority and equity. Also of greater concern is that, on occasion, the same law firm would be paid six times in one day.” Awuonda said in a correspondence dated July 20, 2017.