Bomet County official gets five years for fraud

Saturday June 17 2017

A Kericho court on June 16, 2017 sentenced

A Kericho court on June 16, 2017 sentenced Ezekiel Chirchir, a procurement officer, to five years in prison. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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A Bomet County official has been sentenced to five years imprisonment by a Kericho court.

Ezekiel Chirchir, a procurement officer, was found guilty of abuse of office and fraud in the purchase of six ambulances amounting to Sh3.6 million.

The ambulances were purchased between the county and Kenya Red Cross.

Senior principal magistrate Joseph Ndururi, however, acquitted 13 of Mr Chirchir’s co-accused.

“It is public knowledge that a huge percentage of corruption-related cases in Kenya revolves around the issues of procurement. It is, therefore, necessary where clear evidence has emerged of malpractice in the procurement process that the court should hand down a sentence that would send a harsh message to those involved in such malpractice,” said Justice Ndururi.

He said although Mr Chirchir did not gain from the transaction, he was the head of procurement and in his position, carried the responsibility of ensuring that goods, services and works are procured in accordance with the law.

The lot had been accused of failing to comply with procurement procedure and guidelines between October 20 and December 2013.

“The accused was entrusted with the authority to guard taxpayers’ money he had the option of nullifying the whole process but he chose not to. Though county government of Bomet did not lose any money in this process, the contract was procured without any competition at all. Further, the eleventh accused person who is a professional in procurement ought to have guided the entire process,” said Justice Ndururi.