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17 more MCAs charged with embezzling public funds


Trans Nzoia County Assembly Speaker David Sifuna and 17 MCAs were yesterday charged in an Eldoret court with abuse of office and pocketing allowances illegally.

The 18 were not in court on Monday, when 22 other MCAs were charged with the same offences.

Mr Sifuna told the court he had not refused to honour summons. He said he was unaware of the summons and only learnt about them through the media.

The Speaker was charged with abuse of office by spending public funds on services that were not authorised. These included paying for medical bills and funeral expenses that were not provided for in the county assembly budget.

The MCAs have been accused of receiving Sh47,000 each in imprest to facilitate a trip to Nairobi to collect the body of their colleague, Ronald Matongolo, in 2014.

However, it emerged that the body had already been transported to Kitale by the time they received the money, prompting investigations.

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The MCAs pleaded not guilty and were released on a Sh200,000 bond each with a surety of similar amount or an alternative cash bail of Sh150,000 when they appeared before Resident Magistrate Harrison Barasa separately.

But State Counsel Zechariah Omwenga questioned why the defence team paid the cash bail or bond before their clients took a plea in court. He wondered whether the lawyers had predetermined the outcome.

“Your honour, it is interesting that the defence has already secured and paid the cash bail even before the court could determine the amount,” said Mr Omwenga.

But the defence said it had relied on the outcome of cases against 22 MCAs who faced similar charges on Monday. They paid the bail early to avoid delays in releasing their clients.

The court was told Andrew Kutilila, one of the MCAs not in court, was sick but would take his plea on Monday.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Deputy Director Enoch Otiko said investigations had revealed Sh3 million was misappropriated.

The magistrate ordered the defence team to appear before him on February 17, when the date for mention of the cases will be set.

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