Integrity Centre that hosts Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices in Nairobi/ NMG
NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 20- An official working at the Department of Correction Services suspected to have profited from tenders worth Sh257 million between 2012 and 2016 has had his assets frozen by the High Court.
The High Court froze the land, seven cars and a house in Nairobi worth Sh17.5 million belonging to Eric Kipkurui Mutai.
The move by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) sought to freeze the property and cars, saying they were purchased using proceeds of crime.
Justice Esther Maina granted the order to freeze Mutai’s belongings for a six month period, to allow the EACC to conclude investigations.
“The properties so purchased constitute proceeds of corrupt conduct or corruption which the Applicant is mandated to seek recovery or forfeiture of from the 1st Respondent (Mutai),” EACC stated in its submission.
According to documents presented in court, Mutai received a Sh257 million payment between 2012 and 2016, for supplies allegedly made to the Prisons.
He allegedly got the funds through a fictitious supply of food and ration to the Department of Corrections over the four-year period using seven companies under which he is registered as the sole proprietor.
The companies include Unique Supplies, Homex Logistics enterprises and Hygienic Ventures.
From the payments, Mutai allegedly purchased parcels of land in Nyaribari Chache in Kisii County, Kipchimchim in Kericho County and another property in Nairobi.
He also acquired the seven motor vehicles, collectively valued at approximately Sh30 million. The most costly vehicle was Sh6.8 million as per the court documents.
According to the EACC, investigations established that Mutai obtained S13 forms used in procurement by the Department of Corrections which formed the basis of payments made, as they were attached to the payment vouchers. He allegedly did so without authorisation.
He allegedly claimed to have supplied food and ration to seven prison facilities in Nairobi through his companies and although no supplies were made, money was wired to his bank accounts opened in 2016 and 2017.
He later withdrew the money and purchased the said properties.
“That it is, therefore, necessary to preserve the properties for a period of six months as allowed by the law pending conclusion of investigations and institution or recovery proceedings,” EACC said.
The Commission said it has been undertaking investigations relating to public officers at the Department of Correctional Services, suspected to have fraudulently acquired approximately Sh450 million on account of goods that were never supplied.
The court heard that Mutai might transfer or dispose of the property, rendering the intended case useless unless the preservation orders are issued.
The case will be mentioned on October 25, to confirm the status of investigations.