• May 25, 2024
  • Last Update May 25, 2024 9:23 PM
  • Nairobi

County Assembly Clerk arrested over fraudulent expenditure

Politics

By Peter Ochieng

Taita Taveta County Assembly Clerk Gadiel Maganga has been arrested.

Maganga was nabbed after the High Court sitting in Voi dismissed a petition he had filed against the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), and  the Office of Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), seeking to stop his arrest and prosecution over the fraudulent expenditure incurred in the bonding trip by 21 Members of the County Assembly (MCAs).

The trip to Zanzibar was made in 2022. 

EACC in a statement said that Justice George Dulu on 25th April, 2024 declined to issue the orders sought paving way for prosecution. 

“The arrested suspect is currently being escorted to EACC Mombasa Regional Offices for processing pending arraignment. The Clerk faces graft charges alongside the Deputy Speaker Mwadime Chao who has since pleaded not guilty to charges,” EACC said.

Investigations by the anti-graft agency established that a total of Sh17 million was spent on the trip out of which Sh9 million was directly paid to the organizers for logistics while Sh8 million was paid as imprest to 30 officials, including 21 MCAs.

“The County Assembly used forged documents to account for the fraudulent expenditure. The officials were overpaid while some of those who received allowances did not travel,” EACC added. 

The arrest comes hours after lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi accused EACC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Twalib Mbarak, of ‘too much talk’ on arrest and prosecution of graft suspects without tangible results.

“Mr. Twalib Mbarak is a chatterbox. He arrests one prominent Kenyan every 9 months and talks all kinds of ‘nonsense’ when the cameras roll. Remember what he told us last December about the CS who previously had a casio watch and now wears several Sh10 million watches?” paused the vocal advocate.

“Mr. Mbarak, please stop barking like a wild dog…do your work!”

In 2022, Mbarak said overlapping mandates and sibling rivalry among law enforcement agencies, are among the setbacks that EACC has faced in effecting its mandate. 

Twalib said EACC was established under the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which obligates all state parties to establish independent agencies to spearhead the fight against corruption.

He said the presence of several agencies dealing with corruption and economic crimes in the country, lead to a risk of duplicity and institutional overlaps. 

“This is a recipe for operational confusion and other desirable outcomes witnessed in law enforcement.” 

The EACC boss also said the anti-graft body was faced with constraints in budget, barring it from fully executing its mandate, adding that the agency’s annual budget has stagnated at an average of Sh4 billion for the last five financial years.

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