NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 7 – Kisumu County Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo has presented himself to police in Mombasa for processing ahead of his arraignment in court on Monday on fraud charges.
Oloo is among 27 current and former officials of the Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) facing graft-related charges over the irregular procurement in a mall construction project whose cost Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said was inflated.
While recommending charges against the LBDA officials, the public prosecutor said in a statement issued Friday Oloo, the former Chairperson of Lake Basin Development Authority received aSh17 million bribe to allow the inflation of the tender for the construction of the mall from an initial figure of Sh2.5 billion to Sh4.1 billion.
“I presented myself to the authorities so that I can be investigated for processing as the law demands. I learnt the story from the media in relation to being linked to the Lake Basin Mall issues. We’re ready to face the full force of the law and we will defend ourselves. I trust the country’s judicial system to be free and fair,” Oloo said after presenting himself to police Saturday afternoon.
Haji said the inflation of the tender was a violation of procurement statutes and contrary to the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.
Following the finalization of the probe conducted by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Haji recommended a total of eleven charges against a Chinese contractor and 27 current and former LBDA officials.
Erdemann Property Limited Director Zhang Jing was arrested by EACC detectives on Friday in relation to the alleged fraud.
Bobasi MP Innocent Obiri was also arrested on Friday.
Oloo and LBDA Managing Director Peter Aguko Abok are said to have signed a Deed of Variation in February 2015, varying the cost of the construction of the mall from Sh2.5 billion to Sh3.8 billion, stretching the difference by 57 per cent which is above the 25 per cent allowable variance in the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.
Abok is accused unprocedurally approving additional works to the tune of Sh 1.3 billion in December 2014 in addition to the Sh2.5 billion that he had already committed in April 2013.
Abok and Oloo are said to have signed a Deed of Variation in February 2015, varying the cost of the construction of the mall from Sh2.5 billion to Sh3.8 billion, stretching the difference by 57 percent which is above the 25 per cent allowable variance Public Procurement and Disposal Act.
The two also executed charges on a parcel of land belonging to LBDA for Sh2.5 billion from the Cooperative Bank in March 2014, January 2015 and May 2015 without the approval of the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, and the National Treasury.
Detectives are also pursing LBDA Evaluation Committee members – Anthony Kisaka (CEO), Nelson Onyango (Production Technologist), Henry Odindo (Quantity Surveyor, Quantech Consultancy), Emmanuel Milikau (Architect, Symbion Kenya Limited) and Moses Wekesa (Consultant, Symbion Kenya Limited).
According to Haji, the Evaluation Committee in March 2014 irregularly recommended to the Tender Committee, the award of the tender to Erdemann Property Limited, a firm that had been found to be nonresponsive during the evaluation process as were two other entities which also submitted bids.
LBDA Tender Committee members Onyango Chere (Chief Finance Officer), Godfrey Mwangi (Manager Techical Service and Operations), Albert Omondi (Internal Auditor, Teresia Ochaka (Supplies Officer) and Amelia Atieno (Legal Officer) will also be prosecuted.
Other LBDA officials facing arrest are George Odawa, Anthony Kogo, David Oyosi, John Mango, John Collins Onyango, Boniface Simba and William Omoding, Jimmy Nabwera, Alex Mukabwa, Mary Goima, Kennedy Musembe, Michael Obora, Joash Odhiambo, Dennis Mulaa and Josiah Okumu, all of whom are board members of the State agency.
Odawa is said to have received a Sh12 million bribe to allow the variation of the contract.
Erdemann Property Limited Director Jing will face prosecution alongside MP Momanyi, Oscar Odhiambo (Director, Symbion Kenya Limited), Lydia Owino (Director, Faradon Associates Limited) her co-director Vincent Ogenge, and the corporate entity – Erdemann Property.
Symbion Kenya Limited in April 2019 and issued a completion certificate for the LBDA Mall with Quantech Consultancy issuing a final account of Sh4.1 billion and amount the DPP said was above the figure indicated in the Deed of Variation.
The indicted individuals are facing a total of 11 charges including conspiracy to defraud, willful failure to comply with procurement law, abuse of office, failure to disclose private interest among others.
In his statement on Friday, Haji said he received the inquiry file on the LBDA Mall on July 1, 2019 which he later referred to EACC on August 1, 2019 with instructions for further investigations.
EACC resubmitted the file on August 29, the public prosecutor said