Confidential correspondences seen by Kenya Today between Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) Chair Mumo Matemu and Ombudsman Chair Otiende Amollo show how the anti-corruption body has lost public trust and many people are opting to report corruption matters to directly to the Ombudsman for fear that EACC, itself involved in 2.6 billion corruption scandal, cannot fight graft.
A frustrated employee-whistle blower working at the NSSF wrote to the Ombudsman, also called Commission on Administrative Justice, revealing how a number of EACC commissioners were bribed with houses and also got tenders to run the car parking lot in front of the Laico Regency (formerly Grand Regency) which is said to be owned by Ruto.
The said car park, a large stretch of public land which was ‘grabbed’ in the 90s, accrues estimates of sh 500,000 daily.
“The managing trustee of NSSF, Mr Richard Langat, and his officers Gideon Kyengo, Matemu Nzatu and Moses Chesoto conspired and gave Lulu East Africa Company Ltd to run the parking lot…” reads part of the letter.
Matemu Nzatu is said to be related to EACC chair Mumo Matemu. Nzatu is also accused to have been the link between NSSF and the EACC and went further to offer consultancy services on environmental assessment, title subdivision and planning to Eco Plant, a company associated with one of the EACC commissioners.
“Langat, Kyengo, Nzatu and Chesoto have formed a clique of fleecing NSSF and making sure that EACC does not investigate them. Kyengo’s wife is a senior EACC officer and helps with facilitating housing ‘gifts’ for the commission. They boast that they are untouchables because of their close association with EACC,” another section of the letter read.
In a letter dated 2nd March 2015, EACC chair Mumo Matemu implies the letter by the unanimous NSSF worker contains ‘reckless allegations’ which is part of the accusations the commission is faced with as it tightens noose around mega corruption.
Matemu tells Otiende to go ahead and investigate the allegations, and that EACC will readily provide assistance.
Otiende then informs the EACC chair, in another letter dated March 19, that he has already opened a file but is still finalising two other corruption allegations on the ethics commission.
The allegations touched on the Deputy CEO of the commission who was said to have been earning Â more money.
â€œWe are investigating claims that the Deputy CEO [Michael Mubea] was earning more money than is authorised by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and perhaps more than was approved by the Commission itself and more than was offered to his colleague because there are supposed to be two deputies.â€
Mubea was also said to be involved in sh 2.6 billion bribe. The accusations against Mubea, who was recently suspended over “integrity issues”, is the settling of an out of court agreement with Mombasa tycoon Rashid Sajjad after a protracted legal duel over landholdings.
In March last year, Sajjad handed back 18 title deeds of public plots acquired irregularly, including recreational parks and a clinic.
Ironically, sources within the commission say the recent acrimonious falling out within the EACC stemmed from a decision to charge businessman Deepak Kamani for an Anglo Leasing-related offence when the secretariat had opened negotiations with the suspect to have an out-of-court settlement.
Out of court settlement provided the commission officials with a conduit to receive millions in kickbacks, or clandestinely acquire part of the loot their were investigating.
Interestingly, while Otiende wrote to EACC chair Matemu saying his commission has not opened investigations on allegations by the NSSF staff, days later, he told the media that his commission was actually investigating the matter.
â€œWe are also investigating claims that the Vice Chair and the Deputy CEO may have gotten some houses from NSSF as forbearance in respect to some investigations the EACC had with NSSF,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, the EACC is involved in a sh 2.6 billion scandal – the single largest bribe ever registered in the history of Kenya to have been given as kickbacks to allow for resolution of disputes (corruption cases) out of court and which has prompted a petition to the president to have the commission disbanded altogether.
The complaint, drafted last year by an employee of the commission, and copied to key institutions, including the Director of Public Prosecutions office, alleges mega sleaze by top EACC officials and dubious out-of-court settlements for kickbacks.
The petition, allegedly anonymously drafted by an EACC staffer, claims that Chairman Mumo Matemu is “asleep” and too worried by a suit challenging his suitability for the top job.