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Police probe Nanok, Lonyangapuo and Shinali over oil cash

Friday February 28 2020

tullow oil

Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok. He is being investigated over money he received from Tai Enterprises, which is contracted by Tullow Oil. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BRIAN WASUNA
By BRIAN WASUNA
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A string of shadowy transactions dog Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok, his West Pokot counterpart John Lonyangapuo, Ikolomani MP Ben Shinali and Tai Enterprises Ltd — a construction company that has bagged hundreds of government tenders.

Anti-graft detectives are trying to uncover why Tai Enterprises sent Sh45 million it received from Turkana County to Mr Nanok, who then shared it with Prof Lonyangapuo, Mr Shinali and an individual identified as Isaac Makimei Gitau.

Mr Gitau has a small digital footprint. When the Nation did a Google search, the only Isaac Makimei Gitau result was a contact person for a supplies company.

It’s unclear if he is the same individual involved in the web of suspicious transactions.

The investigation has also roped in Tullow Kenya BV, which has paid millions to Tai in the past for services rendered.

Detectives are seeking to find out whether Tullow proceeds were also shared with the network of individuals under scrutiny.

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DRILLING SITES

Based in Eldoret, Tai has made billions of shillings from both the private and public sectors over 17 years.

It has been one of Tullow’s top contractors and has also done business with Baringo, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Uasin Gishu and Turkana counties, especially in road construction.

For Tullow, the firm put up temporary drilling sites in two oil blocks in Turkana County.

Sources at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) told the Nation that Mr Nanok actually wired to the three parties more than double the Sh45 million he got from counties.

This is an indication that either he dug into his own pocket or had received more money earlier. The puzzle is expected to be unravelled after detectives complete an audit of Mr Nanok’s bank accounts.

Mr Gitau was the biggest beneficiary as he received Sh40 million. Mr Shinali and Mr Lonyangapuo received Sh27.3 million and Sh11.25 million respectively.

ENERGY PROJECTS

Records at the companies’ registry show that Tai Enterprises is jointly owned by Mr John Changwo Cherogony and Ms Penina Jepkenei Cherogony.

Not much is publicly available on the two and the Nation was unable to verify if they are related.

Mr Cherogony’s LinkedIn profile lists him as “owner of Tai Enterprises Ltd” and appears on the Elgeyo-Marakwet County website as the construction firm’s co-owner.

Tai Enterprises was incorporated on December 1, 2003 and has its registered offices at room 26 in Nandi Arcade, Oloo Street, Eldoret.

Details of the firm’s bankers, auditors, lawyers and the company secretary are not listed in the documents seen.

The firm has been involved in some of Kenya’s biggest energy projects such as the Konza Technopolis, Lake Turkana Wind Power project, Kainuk-Turkwell Power Station and the Turkana oil venture.

It has also constructed several roads for the national and county governments.

With Turkana County having done business with it, the investigation seeks to uncover why the governor may have been compromised to approve tenders worth millions of shillings.