With exactly one year and two days in office, just like his predecessors, Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja has been unable to slay the corruption dragon at City Hall amid major financial scams dogging his nascent administration so far.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Controller of Budget (CoB) Margaret Nyakang’o and the Auditor General Nancy Gathungu’s office are among the institutions that have raised queries over questionable spending of public funds by the Nairobi county government.
Earlier this month, Sakaja sacked former Nairobi County Attorney Lydia Kwamboka by Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja through acting County Secretary Patrick Analo barely two months after Nyakang’o raised queries over Sh1.4billion legal fees payments flagged by the office of the CoB.
Further, the office of the Director of Criminal Investigations Mohamed Amin is probing money laundering and fraud at the Nairobi County government and nine other private companies.
However, in his scorecard, Sakaja cites environmental clean-up, health care, road rehabilitation, improvements in land tenure, support for education and an increase in revenue collection as some of his major achievements.
According to data from the county Finance Department, Sh10.6 billion is the highest achieved by City Hall in the last five years.
In the 2021-22 year, the county collected Sh8.9 billion while Sh9.7 billion was raised in 2020-21.
The lowest collected was Sh8.5 billion in 2019-20, which was half the targeted Sh17.31 billion.
The 2018-19 financial year was no better, as the revenue was Sh10.17 billion, Sh5 billion less than the target of Sh15.29 billion.
However, the DCi, Auditor General and CoB have separately cited cases of lack of financial prudence at City Hall.
In June this year, Nyakang’o declined to approve Sh1.5billion expenditure requisitions they made to pay legal fees and development expenditure made without providing proper supportive documents.
Further, City Hall honchos made an additional clearance request of Sh379million categorised as development expenditure of building and construction supplies claimed to be ‘air supply’.
“The schedule of 19 firms to be paid does not include the invoices’ dates; therefore, it is difficult to ascertain whether they are pending bills or related to works done and invoiced in the current financial year. Please, therefore, revise the schedule to include the date of the invoices and attached copies of the payment vouchers for the 19firms.” A correspondence by the CoB addressed to Sakaja through the Finance and Economic Planning County Executive Committee Member Charles Kerich reads in part.
Through a letter dated June 27, 2023, Ref:COB/NBI/001/171(11), Nyakang’o notes that the Nairobi county government did not provide the pending bills payment plan that would enable the matching of individual payees to the requisitions.
“Further, it is difficult to match the proposed payments with the pending bills report earlier presented to this office.” The CoB adds in part.
Sakaja’s administration made the twin requisitions vide letters referenced as Ref NRB/FIN/1/2824/2023 dated June 19, 2023 amounting to Sh562, 124,660 and Ref NRB/FIN/1/2825/2023 dated June 19, 2023 amounting to Sh509, 152, 645.
Nyakang’o instructed County Treasury to provide the basis for the legal fees, status of each court case including copies of judgement where applicable.
Also, the CoB’s office demanded a clear breakdown detailing the criteria used in the selection of the said payments, the recommended ‘first-in-first-out’ method used in identifying the bills and information on whether the proposed payment is a partial payment or a final payment to the legal firms.
She said she wrote a memo dated August 2, 2023, to the Chief Officer of the finance department asking for clarification on payment criteria.
“We would like to understand the criteria used by your office in determining matters to be paid despite the sector having a budget to settle the small matters and what happened to the allocated budget.” A letter Kwamboka tabled before the committee reads in part.
Through a letter dated July 21, 2023, the DCI Director Mohamed Amin through the head of Investigations Bureau at the DCI headquarters David Birech wrote to City Hall demanding a list of tender documents, requisitions by user department, award contracts, delivery and inspection reports and all local purchase orders issued to profiled nine companies believed to have been used to siphon the money.
Impeccable sources at the DCI revealed investigations are underway to uncover loss of hundreds of millions paid to companies that never supplied any goods or services.
Among other companies under probe include Ramecon Engineering Limited owned by Phoebe Kanini Kimasyu while Walter Zakayo Kilonzi has been listed as the secretary and Burasha General Supplies Limited owned by Mariam Buraq Hassan and Eva Wairimu Kimani as directors each holding 500 shares.
Others are; Tweem Limited owned by Monica Kalondu Wambua and Purity Ntinyari each holding 50 shares, Cloud Mobile Technologies Limited owned by Rhoda Mwende Ndolo, Martin Mwangi, Geoffrey Osano Kerage and Henry Mwaniki Mburu each holding 700, 50, 150 and 100 shares respectively.
Mitesh Shah Mahendrakumar and Jagat Shah Mahendrakumar, two of the listed six directors of AR Pharmaceutical Limited each holding 500 shares in the company have no known nationality.
According to our investigations, contrary to the law, their nationality in the company ownership has been filed as “not applicable”.
Records show their other four directors; Sylvia Wambui Kamunyu, Miranda Njeri Gathiru, Keval Dilipbhai Patel and Bhagyeshkumar Shah have been listed as directors but hold zero shares.
Additionally, the nationality of Patel and Bhagyeshkumar has been recorded as India.
Further, Future Link Limited owned by Benard Ochieng Onyuna Lucas Zachaeus Odhiambo is also under DCI’s radar. According to records seen by us, Ochieng holds 1 share while Zachaeus holds 999 shares.
Also, Larsen Investments Company Limited owned Hassan Alio Ahamed has also been cited as one of the companies under investigations. One Michael King’ori has been listed as the secretary in the company.
Other companies under the detectives’ radar are Instabul Investment Limited and Brigit West Limited.
According to the DCI, the nine listed firms are believed to have been used in suspected money laundering scheme and fraudulent payments for services not rendered.
“This office is investigating a case of suspected money laundering in which Nairobi County Government is alleged to have fraudulently made payments to companies which did not render services.” A terse letter from the DCI addressed to the Nairobi County Secretary reads in part.
It is said to be a well weaved deal in which sector heads in Nairobi county government connive with procurement officers, contractors and the County Treasury officials to siphon hundreds of millions from the public coffers.
The letter from DCI was received at the Office of the County Secretary on July 24, 2023.
Last year, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission asked the Nairobi County Secretary to supply it with case files handled by 26 law firms.
The Anti-Corruption agency requested files between 2013 and 2020, including details of the cases, letters of instruction and contract agreements.