The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is closing in on a number of Nairobi MCAs as a crackdown on graft at City Hall widens. Detectives have been on the trail of some ward representatives over a 2018 bursary scandal with the anti-graft agency tightening its noose on the politicians.
The scandal could rope in as many as 20 county lawmakers who have been under investigation regarding their involvement in the matter. According to documents seen by Nation, the MCAs have been under investigations for allegedly benefiting directly or indirectly from the funds meant for needy students in the capital.
The ward reps have been accused of obtaining several bursary cheques but returning them citing errors and in the process of rectifying the anomalies, they would provide different names and accounts.
The DCI has completed investigations with the file handed over to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further action.
“During the month of September, 2018, information was received in this office that there is a community based organisation operating under the name of Kobudho Educational Centre and it was defrauding Nairobi County government by forging bursary cheques,” read in part a report by Ms Eunice Maingi, director of investigations and information analysis.
In 2018, Governor Mike Sonko wrote to the DCI and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detailing the extent of the plunder that had been taking place in the county.
In one of the letters dated August 14, 2018; the governors called for investigations on fraud claims in bursary disbursement at City Hall.
According to Mr Sonko, some firms and institutions disguising themselves as schools have been siphoning millions of shillings from the bursary fund.
Kitusuru MCA Alvin Palapala is one of the MCAs who has been adversely mentioned in the investigations. Together with his wife Tabitha Saidi Luchesa as well as James Momita, an accountant and officer in charge of bursaries at City Hall, are some of individuals under the radar of the agency.
The three are under investigation for conspiracy to defraud and attempt to obtain money by false pretences.
The trio is accused of changing the names of cheque payees from bona fide beneficiaries to that of their relatives as well as their personal bank accounts. The documents revealed that at one time, NR Talvo Ltd, a company associated with Mr Palapala and his wife, received Sh20,000 from the bursary fund. Another Sh100, 000 was received by Ms Luchesi on August 13, 2018.
Other institutions that have come under the spotlight in relation to the scandal include Kobudho Educational Centre, Christian Women Education Centre and Edmwoka Mixed Secondary School. The directors of Kobudho are Mr Francis Odhiambo Ouma, personal assistant to Karen MCA; Ouma’s wife Queenstar Adhiambo, Job Omondi Mark Imboko, a county water official; and his wife Nancy Nasimiyu. Mr Imboko is also ODM party Karen branch chairman.
The four are accused of obtaining bursary money for the non-existent institution to the tune of Sh4.5 million.
This article was originally published on The Daily Nation.