The impeachment process against Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu took a twist Saturday after it emerged that one of the grounds for her ouster is based on forged Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) documents.
The notice of the motion by Majority Leader Peter Kilonzo lists twelve grounds for removing the governor from office but one of them is now a matter under investigation by police.
In his second ground for the impeachment motion, Mr Kilonzo accuses Governor Ngilu of conflict of interest in the purchase of a stone crusher for the county, contrary to Article 75 of the Constitution, and attaches several documents to support his claims.
Mr Kilonzo claims that based on import documents in their possession, the contract to supply, deliver and install the stone crusher with a capacity of 100-120 tons per hour was awarded to a firm linked to the governor’s family.
Among the documents supporting this allegation were the import declaration form (IDF) from KRA, pro forma invoices from the Chinese suppliers, and County tendering documents among others.
The set of documents on the stone crusher are backed by a sworn affidavit by Mr John Kisangau Mbaki, the MCA for Yatta Kwa Vonza where the facility is installed and who claims to have collected the evidence of impropriety.
However, when Mrs Ngilu’s lawyers scrutinised the impeachment documents and the evidence advanced by members of county assembly in each of the 12 allegations, it emerged that the import declaration forms were forged.
According to Mr Martin Oloo, the lead counsel for Mrs Ngilu, the KRA documents were maliciously altered by inserting other telephone contacts, to create a false narrative that the governor is linked to the transaction, and hence the ground for impeachment.
“They have altered the import declaration form number E180995400 and inserted a telephone number of one Billy Indeche to make it look like he was the contact person for the purchase of the stone crusher,” reads Mr Oloo’s statement to Kitui police.
The lawyer told the police that by altering the KRA documents to insert the telephone contacts for Mr Indeche, who is a son-in-law of the governor, the MCA committed forgery to achieve a malicious intent.
Mr Oloo says the county government has authentic documents to prove that the contract to supply, deliver and install the stone crusher with a capacity of 100-120 tons per hour was awarded to EDN George Diesel Limited at a cost of Sh85.3 million, and that the company is not linked in any way to Mrs Ngilu’s family.
Documents from KRA’s Customs Services Department related to the crusher, seen by the Nation and which are being authenticated by detectives show the two IDF forms bearing the same serial number but different contact details.
The ones submitted to the assembly by Mr Mbaki bears Mr Indeche’s telephone number while the ones with the governor’s lawyers have contact details for one George Mungai.
The pro forma invoice issued by Shanghai Zenith Minerals Sales Company Limited – the Chinese firm which supplied the stone crusher was also altered with Mr Mungai’s number replaced with that of Mr Indeche’s.
Kitui Central DCI Officer Nzioka Singi confirmed that a forgery complaint related to the impeachment process had been filed in his office by lawyers for the governor.
“Yes, we’re investigating the case. It is still at preliminary stage but we are examining the two sets of documents to determine whether a crime has been committed,” the DCI boss said.
Mr Singi said the authenticity of the documents will be determined by the Customs Department of KRA, who are the issuing department.
In the impeachment motion, the MCAs claim that based on “their documents”, they have concluded that the governor used her son-in-law in the crusher transaction to convey a personal benefit, which amounts to a gross violation of the Constitution.
But through her lawyers, Mrs Ngilu has accused the MCAs of lying on oath and forging government documents contrary to provisions of the law, with the aim of inciting the public against the county government.
Mr Oloo wants the County Assembly Speaker George Ndotto, Clerk Elijah Mutambuki and the two MCAs – Mr Kilonzo, the mover of the motion, and Mr Mbaki, who submitted the fake documents – to be held liable for abuse of office by approving a motion which had forgeries and altered documents.
VERIFICATION AND APPROVAL
“Standing orders of the county assembly require the verification and approval process by the assembly clerk, the Speaker, the mover and supporters of the motion to impeach the governor,” Mr Oloo says in his letter to DCI copied to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Efforts to contact Mr Mbaki for comment were fruitless.
But Speaker Ndotto said he was not aware of the alleged alterations of the documents submitted as evidence for the impeachment motion and that, in his verification duty, he could not distinguish a genuine or a forged KRA document.
“The investigative agencies should take up the matter and examine the documents and if there is any forgery, it should be dealt with according to the law,” Mr Ndotto said, adding that the police are yet to contact him.
CLEAR THE AIR
On his part, Mr Kilonzo, the mover of the motion, denied using forged documents knowingly but said the case is easy to investigate and determine because the documents which the assembly is relying on can be traced from the source.
“I don’t know how an import declaration form is generated and I am not aware of any forgery but it is upon the police and KRA to clear the air and tell Kitui people which ones are authentic,” said Mr Kilonzo.
Records at the Registrar of Companies as at March 6, 2020 reveal that EDN George Diesel Limited, which supplied the crusher, is owned by George Gicini Mungai and Nancy Wanjiku Wachira, and not Mr Billy Indeche.
When the Nation contacted Mr Mungai, he said his firm has no links with either the governor or her son-in-law and that he is ready to testify in any court to prove to the country that his contract to supply the crusher to Kitui County was above board.
“If indeed there was any corruption in the contract, why would anyone with evidence illegally forge documents to justify a certain narrative?” he posed.
He demanded that the DCI carries out thorough and speedy investigations into the matter and prosecute those behind the forgery.
Mr Mungai added that his firm has been defamed unfairly by false narratives.