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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Turkana graft suspects defy step aside order, still in office

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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Eight senior Turkana county government officials, who were last month charged with conspiracy to steal Sh42 million from the county through irregular tendering and payment in 2015 and 2016, are still in office.

The eight, together with directors of Winston International Company that was awarded the tender, were paraded before the Eldoret High Court where they denied involvement in irregular procurement of a fire fighting engine where the devolved unit is reported to have lost more than Sh21 million.

They were charged that between December 16, 2015, and November 30, 2016, in Lodwar town, they conspired to defraud the Turkana County government Sh42.5 million “in respect of a contract for supply of a fire fighting truck which was not delivered”.

But instead of stepping aside in line with Justice Mumbi Ngugi’s (pictured) ruling on July 14, 2019, ordering public officers including governors charged with economic crimes to vacate office for the duration of their trial, the officials are still operating from their respective offices.

Yesterday, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) spokesperson Yasssin Amaro told the media that the matter had been brought to the commission’s attention.

He added that the commission intends to raise the matter in court during the next hearing.

Amaro said the legal position remains that once accused persons pleaded to charges, they ought to have stepped aside pending the hearing and determination of the case.

“The matter has been brought to our attention that those officials are still operating from their respective offices, which is against the bail terms. We will definitely take the matter up. We will investigate and we shall raise the issue before the court,” he said.

The accused are Joseph Emate (Chief Officer Finance), Richard Emou (Director Procurement), Mark Ewesit (Chief Officer, Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Areas Management), Francis Esimit, an accountant, Lomowe Shakespear (Director Revenue) and Peter Lobali, an accountant.

Also charged are James Ekaran (accountant) and Naweed Akaran, who is the director of Winston International Company Limited.

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