A Malindi court has issued warrants of arrest against four senior Tana River County officials accused of committing procurement irregularities.
The suspects include Lamu County Fisheries executive member Abdu Godana Dae who is the former Tana River County Secretary, head of county procurement Abushora Swaleh, Mr Abdulle Mustafa Abdirahiman (director) and his counterpart Mr Ayan Mohamed Khalif.
Chief Magistrate Julie Oseko issued the warrant after the suspects failed to show up in court to answer to charges of wilful failure to comply with procurement law, uttering false documents and conspiracy to steal public funds.
UNABLE TO TRACE SUSPECTS
Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Vincent Monda requested for the warrant saying the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officers had failed to trace the suspects since Wednesday evening.
At the same time, six of the 10 suspects from Tana River County who were arrested on Thursday evening denied the charges levelled against them.
The offences were allegedly committed between September and October 2016.
The suspects, Mohamed Guracho (former chief officer), Feliz Mumba, Thomas Chula, Mwameso Juma, Jeremiah Kidowe and Abbas Bute, denied the charges before Dr Oseko.
Also charged is Regional Drilling and Trading Limited, a company alleged to have been awarded a tender to supply 100 collapsible tanks without meeting the set requirements.
Mr Mustafa, Mr Ayan and the company are accused of forging documents claiming they had completed works at Bomet Agricultural Training Centre, Kenya School of Law and Ewaso Ng’iro Development Authority.
The charges said the aim of the forged documents was to prove their experience and capacity to work with the county government.
On their part, Mr Chula, Mr Kidowe, Mr Juma and Mr Bute, being the tender evaluation committee members in Tana River County, were charged with failing to comply with the law relating to procurement.
All the 10 suspects together with Regional Drilling company were also charged with conspiracy to steal public funds between September and October 2016.
After they took plea, Mr Monda urged court to deny them bond, arguing that the suspects are senior county officials who might interfere with witnesses.
“It is our submission that the suspects will intimidate witnesses who are still conducting their duties if they are released on bond,” he said.
Mr Monda argued that corruption has become a threat to the country’s economy and it is for the interest of justice that the accused remain in custody while the case is proceeding.
But lawyer Bwire Okano together with two others representing the accused opposed the application to deny them bond, saying the suspects have since 2016, when the investigation was launched, complied.
“The accused work with county government; they are well known and they have families with permanent places of abode,” he said.
The magistrate directed they be remanded in custody until Monday when she will rule on bond.