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EACC didn't probe Sh26.1 million Wajir graft case, court told

EACC officers were not involved in the probe into Sh26.1 million corruption allegations in Wajir county because it was beyond their capacity.

“We have few officers in the Wajir office and they could not have done the investigations,” investigation officer Steve Wanyama told a court hearing on Monday.

He was testifying in the case where Ahmed Sahal Omar, Daud Abdullahi, Jeff Kithinji Mworia (all county officers) and Sayid Ibrahim (KCB Wajir branch manager) have denied charges of conspiracy to defraud the county of Sh26.1 million public funds.

Wanyama denied there were external forces in the pressing of charges against the accused persons.

During cross-examination led by defence lawyer Elijah Mwangi, Wanyama said there was a meeting on October 9, 2018 at the bank involving the county head of treasury Jeff Mworia, Sayid  Ibrahim and one of the bank’s operational managers to discuss cheques.

He said Sayid ought not to have processed the cheques.

Wanyama said that as at October 9, 2018, there were funds in the account.

When asked whether Sayid would have controlled the county’s decision, the officer said he had the power to withdraw the cash.

“After the money had been withdrawn, there was a complaint to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission by an anonymous person on the same,” Wanyama said.

He said he did not investigate the bank's security system.

Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi was expected to testify in the case but the matter was adjourned until February 14.

The prosecution sought more time after Wanyama said he was exhausted and was not able to continue. They also said they needed time to prepare documents for re-examination.

More than 17 witnesses have testified. Abdi is expected to take to the witness stand next.

Last week, Wanyama said they had established the cash was withdrawn from Kenya Commercial Bank, Wajir branch, by Abdullahi  and Mworia.

The two are economic planning executive and acting county public service head respectively.

He said the money was divided into two batches.

The first batch was allegedly delivered to the governor at his residence in South B, Nairobi, on October 10, 2018 by Abdullahi and the other taken by Mworia on October 13, 2018.

Wanyama on Monday said the case is pegged on procedural withdrawal of money from the Wajir county government imprest accounts.

It is claimed the governor instructed the two to withdraw the cash from the imprest account without supporting documentation.

Wanyama said the officers took an overdraft of Sh25 million given there was only Sh1.2 million in the account at the time.

The loan was paid by the county seven days before the suspects were charged in November 2018.

Wanyama said call data showed there was frequent communication among Abdullahi, Mworia and Sahal during and after the transaction.

The court heard that Abdullahi wrote to the bank to change the authority to sign to one person. Mworia was appointed to be the single signatory to the imprest account.

Wanyama said the executive did not approve Abdullahi's decision to make Mworia a sole signatory to the account.

This article was originally published on The Star.


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