The Meru High Court is set to issue further directions in a case where the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) got orders to freeze bank accounts for five companies that had reportedly been paid by the Isiolo county government as pending bills over claims that they had not rendered the services.
EACC obtained six-month orders under Miscellenous application on December 24, 2020 to freeze Sh46 million in accounts belonging to Dabasiti Contractors and Suppliers Ltd, Choke Construction Company Ltd, Almasi’s store Ltd, Noyasu construction Company Ltd and Rayan Provision Stores Ltd.
The money was paid by the county government on December 22, 2020 for alleged supply of foodstuff and hiring of motorvehicle by the former Governor’s office.
The anti-graft agency moved to court after gathering information that some of the county officials had colluded with the contractors and suppliers to process the irregular payments for the services not rendered.
The orders issued by Lady Justice T.W Cherere also prohibited the companies from withdrawing, transferring or disposing the monies until the application, made under certificate of urgency, until the matter is heard and determined.
The companies had sued Governor Mohamed Kuti administration for breaching a consent order entered between the contractors and the devolved government in August 2019 that required the county government to pay Sh163 million by September 15, 2020.
The money was expected to be paid in two phases, Sh80 million by December 15, 2019 and the remaining Sh83 million by mid-September 2020.
Isiolo Court on August 21 last year ordered the county to clear the bills and Lawyer Kiogora Mugambi, who represented Finance Executive Abdinassir Hajj Daud and Chief Officer Peter Ngechu, assured that they would be cleared in 25 days.
The county government had by January 2021 paid more than half of the Sh83 million pending bills.
The Meru High Court will on June 24 (next Thursday), when the orders lapse, give the way forward including whether to extend or suspend them.
The court will also rule on whether the money should be recovered and reverted to public coffers or the contractors.