in

Edward Ouko’s troubles linked to dam graft case

A corruption case involving the chairman of a parliamentary committee has been linked to the petition to remove the auditor-general, Mr Edward Ouko, from office.

The public prosecutions deputy director, Mr Nicholas Mutuku, states that he is aware of ongoing investigations into Ainamoi MP Benjamin Langat’s alleged stealing of public funds in collusion with officers from the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation.

Mr Langat is the chairman of the finance committee that is hearing the petition to remove Mr Ouko from office. It was lodged by a Nairobi lawyer, Emmanuel Mwagambo Mwagonah.

In his replying affidavit in a case at the High Court by activist Okiya Omtata seeking to block the removal of Mr Ouko from office, Mr Mutuku states that Mr Langat is being investigated for alleged theft of public funds.

He said that a complaint was lodged to the public prosecutor on September 28, 2016 which is still under active investigation by the anti-corruption commission.

He said the prosecutor has yet to receive a report from the commission and “we cannot therefore comment” he writes in the March 27 affidavit.

The affidavit maintains that the prosecutor’s office has demonstrated its independence despite pressure from other quarters.

CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS

Though he does not categorically state that the petition seeking Mr Ouko’s removal has something to do with the corruption allegations facing Mr Langat, Mr Mutuku goes at great lengths to explain the sustained pressure the parliamentary committee is exerting on the office to review his position on the investigation into the alleged irregular procurement of the Audit Vault software at the auditor-general’s office.

“Even after furnishing the National Assembly Clerk with his decision and the reasons, the committee hearing the petition for the removal of the auditor-general summoned the prosecutor to appear personally before the committee on March 9 to clarify matters in the petition,” Mr Mutuku says.

The prosecutor did appear before the committee and reiterated the decision he made in which he dismissed the recommendation by the anti-graft agency to charge Ouko.

The case against Mr Langat relates to a company associated with him which is said to have been paid for the construction of Siwot Dam in Kericho County but was never implemented.

A petitioner, Mr Emmanuel Kiplangat Kirior, has asked a court to have the firm, Cagla Enterprises Ltd, investigated for the alleged misuse of public funds in Ainamoi Constituency.

FACES PROSECUTION

He claims five years ago, the water and pipeline corporation awarded a Sh3.5 million contract to the firm to build the dam. Mr Langat has denied the allegations.

In his suit against Mr Ouko’s removal from office, Mr Omtata argues that the auditor is a victim of a malicious campaign to remove him from office even though he is a diligent worker.

Mr Tobiko alluded to machinations to kick Mr Ouko out of office when he rejected a recommendation by the anti-graft agency that he faces prosecution over his alleged role in the Audit Vault technology scandal at his office.

The prosecutions director took issue with what he termed as “sinister and mischievous” attempts to coerce him to make a decision on prosecuting the attorney-general over alleged Sh100 million worth of procurement irregularities.

He said he had failed to appreciate the “sudden urgency” of the matter given that it had been investigated for three years.

He said the magnitude of the investigations would require more thorough approach.

“I find it rather strange that an extreme wave of urgency has been imposed on this matter when the same was not there since 2014 when it was taken up by investigators,” he said in his decision.

What Infrastructure PS is doing about rogue contractors

Nothing will replace my son, says Garissa attack victim’s father