EACC grills Bungoma governor over Sh1m wheelbarrows

Tuesday March 8 2016

Governor Ken Lusaka leaves the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission offices on March 7, 2016, after being questioned over procurement and spending more than Sh1 million on 10 wheelbarrows. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Governor Ken Lusaka leaves the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission offices in Nairobi on March 7, 2016, after being questioned over procurement and spending more than Sh1 million on 10 wheelbarrows. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ISAAC ONGIRI
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Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka was Monday questioned for hours over inflated prices for wheelbarrows bought by the county government last year.

Reports of the purchase of the 10 wheelbarrows at Sh109,000 each sparked protests. They were bought by the county’s department of Agriculture for a slaughterhouse.

The county boss was also questioned on other procurement issues.

Mr Lusaka declined to discuss details of his engagement with the detectives when he left the interrogation room at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) headquarters in Nairobi.

On Monday, commission chairman Philip Kinisu told the Nation that officers were investigating several high-profile cases.

He added that they were also looking into the "Chickengate" scandal, whose report he promised to deliver to the Director of Public Prosecutions last week but failed to do so.

“Detectives are tying up several high-profile cases. We are still on course with our investigations on the two ‘Chickengate’ cases and will update the country on progress by next week,” added Mr Kinisu.

The EACC also questioned political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi, who has been implicated in the Sh791 million National Youth Service (NYS) theft scandal.

BIG FISH

Mr Ngunyi said he shared what he knew about the NYS deal with investigators and they were happy.

He insisted that he was innocent and urged detectives to go for the big fish, adding that Ms Josephine Kabura — the woman at the centre of the scam — was a sacrificial lamb.

“Ms Kabura needs prayers. She is being fried by people who knew exactly what happened. I cannot defend her but I think we need to get to the bottom of the matter. We can’t do that by being diversionary,” he said.

Today, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan is expected at the EACC headquarters to record a fresh statement over the "Chickengate" scandal following a report released to Kenya by British authorities on bribery of election officials for tenders.

“I will be visiting the commission on Tuesday to speak on the matter,” said Mr Hassan.

Earlier, 16 former junior IEBC employees who participated in the  procurement of ballot papers used in the 2010 referendum and the Shinyalu and Bomachoge by-elections were questioned by EACC detectives.

Some of those questioned travelled to the UK around the time the bribery allegedly took place. They were asked to present their passports for scrutiny.

IEBC Corporate Communications Manager Tabitha Mutemi yesterday denied travelling to Britain with members of the tender committee implicated in the scandal.