Detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (Eacc) have arrested former Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala together with three other ex-officials in the ministry including former Principal Secretary Leah Gwiyo in connection to Sh8.5billion graft during construction of Kenya Utalii College in Kilifi.
The arrest comes following allegations that the Tourism Fund fraudulently paid Sh8.5billion to set up Kenya Utalii College branch at the Coast during his tenure as a Cabinet Secretary.
Confirming the arrest, the anti-graft agency spokesperson Erick Ngumbi said Balala who was arrested at his home in Nairobi will be flown to Mombasa then driven to Malindi court.
The four will be flown to Mombasa then driven to Malindi court and face the charges against corruption after the prosecution approved recommendations by EACC.” Ngumbi said.
The three arrested alongside Balala include former Principal Secretary in the same ministry, Leah Adda Gwiyo and Joseph Odero of West Consult Engineers.
The EACC spokesperson said four were apprehended in connection to the payment of Sh18.5billion that was supposed to construct the college in Kilifi which was later renamed to Ronald Ngala Utalii College.
The arrest follows allegations that the Tourism Fund fraudulently paid Sh8.5 billion to set up the Coast branch of Kenya Utalii College (later renamed Ronald Ngala Utalii College) at the time he was a CS.
Ngumbi said investigations by EACC indicated Sh4billion was paid for consultancy services and after their investigations were complete, the DPP agreed that sixteen persons involved in the graft be arrested and charged adding that twelve others are still being searched.
“Investigations were undertaken by the commission regarding the payment of Sh18.5 billion by the Tourism Fund out of which Sh4 billion was paid to a company for consultancy services for the proposed Ronald Ngala Utalii College in Vipingo, Kilifi County. Upon conclusion of the investigations, EACC submitted the investigation report to the DPP, and the DPP concurred with the recommendations to apprehend and charge 16 persons.” He stated.
The four will be facing ten counts of corruption and economic crimes which include procurement fraud and misappropriation of Sh 18.5billion of public funds as per recommendations of EACC.
They spent the night at Kilimani police station after being arrested yesterday evening awaiting their arraignment today.
The anti-graft commission has been on the radar of senior officials who served in the tourism ministry during the former regime including Tourism Fund CEO, Balala and his PS among others.