Journalists locked out of Kilifi Sh51 million scandal probe

The officials pleaded with the special committee led by Speaker Jimmy Kahindi to allow them give evidence in camera, saying some if the information they intended to reveal touched on their bosses.

Only Mr Jacob Konde, the Senior Accountant for Health, said he was ready to give evidence in the presence of the media “and anyone else” in the investigation.

Roads and Transport Inspector Lenox Mwadzoya was the first to speak, saying he did not feel safe “pouring what I have in the presence of the media and members of the public”.

Journalists and the public were on Tuesday sent out the of the Kilifi County Assembly as eight of the 10 officials suspected to have colluded to steal Sh51 million from the county began to give their evidence.

FEEL UNSAFE

What they were about to reveal, he said, would incriminate their bosses and they feared that the repercussion would be severe.

“We feel that we will not be at ease to say what we want to say. Our security is not guaranteed and this could extend to our families,” he said.

“So, we ask this commission to ask the press and members of the public to go out. Only the honourable MCAs should be allowed here,” he appealed.

SIMILAR APPEALS

His colleagues made similar appeals, saying they would speak “the truth without reservation” before the chairman made his order.

Mr Kahindi ordered the media and the public to leave the hall in order to allow the officers testify with ease.

The suspended officers who backed the ruling are Mr Paul Mwazo (Deputy Director, Treasury), Mr John Kalume (Senior Accountant, Finance) and Ms Josephine Muramba (Principal Accountant, Education).

Others are Ms Lilian Hariri (Clerical Officer, Health), Ms Vivian Sidi Nzai (Accountant, Water), and Mr Johnson Nyamawi Gambi (Senior Accountant, Finance), Chief Health Officer Timothy Malingi and Mr Dickson Tembo (Clerical Officer, Agriculture).

PASSWORDS

Mr Kahindi had earlier directed that the suspended officers, whose passwords are said to have been used to transfer money to bank accounts belonging to five private companies, testify individually.

“The officers come from different departments and each has distinct evidence concerning the loss,” said the speaker.

Last week, the committee heard that the money was fraudulently wired through the Integrated Finanacial Management System (Ifmis) and internet banking to Makegra Supplies, Zohali Supplies, Kilingi Investment, Leadership Edge Associates and Daima One Enterprises.

Central Bank of Kenya, the Ifmis department, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Anti-Bank Fraud Unit have begun investigations into the case.

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