Score card: EACC recovers less than 1% of ‘stolen’ public cash

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission recovered assets worth Sh256 million out of a possible Sh57.1 billion of public funds that was being pursued in the fiscal year ended June 2017, a 63.45 per cent decline from the previous year.

The figures from the EACC’s annual report of activies only recorded a 0.44 per cent success rate in recovery of public funds and assets, a sharp indication of how far Kenya still has to go in bringing corrupt individuals to book in the war on graft.

In the financial year ended June 2016, the EACC recovered Sh700.58 million out of Sh93.326 billion that was under probe, indicating a 0.75 per cent success rate when commissioner Sophia Lepuchirit signed off on the annual report following the exit of then chairman Philip Kinisu.

The anti-graft agency, however, recorded an increase in the tracing of illegally acquired assets and averting loss of public funds.

The EACC said it averted the loss of Sh6.1 billion in the 2016-17 period up from Sh2.6 billion in the previous fiscal year, indicating a 57.93 percentage increase.

The watchdog managed to trace illegally acquired assets worth Sh4.913 billion in the last financial year compared to Sh3.861 billion in the previous year, indicating a 27.24 percentage increase.

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EACC chairman Eliud Wabukala has described the watchdog’s 2016-17 year as successful, despite the drop in the anti-graft agency’s asset recovery rate.

“It has been a successful year for the commission. We have witnessed tremendous achievements in our efforts to fight corruption and this can be demonstrated by having had 22 cases concluded in court, with 17 convictions,” he said.

“Regionally, the commission was ranked number one on evidence and management of exhibits among 17 Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Agencies by the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre (CAACC) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,” Wabukala said in the report. Under Kinisu and later Lepuchirit’s leadership in the 2016-17 fiscal year, 14 graft cases were finalised in court, with 11 convictions.

The number of complaints to the EACC also surged from 7,929 in the year ended 2016 to 8,044 in the year ended June 2017, pointing to a rise in graft incidences.

The rise in complaints recorded at the EACC also points towards a slight rise in public confidence towards the watchdog’s ability to probe graft in public institutions.

The report, however, offers scant information pm names of individuals under investigation, land size and in some cases action taken against corrupt officers.

Some of the assets recovered include the 85.572-acre Joseph Kang’ethe estate in Woodley, Nairobi, which the watchdog estimates to be valued at Sh75 million and two pieces of land that had been grabbed from the Kisumu government valued at Sh36 million.

The NLC revoked title deeds it said had been allocated to 103 individuals and companies, some more prominent than others. Among those listed by the NLC as beneficiaries were NASA co-principal Musalia Mudavadi, James Gachagua, who is a brother of former Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua, and former CID boss Noah Too.

Mudavadi has denied owning land in or around James Kang’ethe Estate, adding he is only a tenant. The EACC also recovered two parcels of land in Mombasa that had been grabbed from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority valued at Sh130 million.

Public funds recovered include Sh1million owed to the Kenya Revenue Authority, Sh1 million that was embezzled from the Samburu County government and Sh9.8 million stolen from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund.

The YEDF funds recovered are however just a fraction of the Sh180.9 million that was looted from the state agency in 2014.

Some of the completed include the alleged misappropriation of 2.8 billion by an accounting officer in 2013, and which was reported in 2015. The watchdog does not however give details of whether investigations have implicated the accounting officer, or what action has been taken since.

Others are allegations of irregular procurement practice by the National Housing Corporation in the purchase of a piece of land for Sh400 million reported in 2015 and irregular tender award by the YEDF to a company for supply of greenhouses in Kirinyaga worth Sh300 million in 2016.

The report also puts the Kenya Ferry Services on the spot in the procurement of two new ferries for Sh1.9 billion reported in 2016 and tax evasion allegations against an National Youth Service contractor to the tune of Sh383 million reported in 2016.

Some of the traced assets acquired illegally include a Sh1 billion piece of land in Diani that is part of the marine reserve but had been allocated to a private developer and six land parcels worth Sh960 million grabbed from the Kenyatta National Hospital.

The four acre piece of land hosting a Nairobi County water reservoir in Loresho and valued at Sh193 million has also been traced by the EACC. The land hads been allocated to businessman Shital Bhandari.

The EACC has placed caveats on the Diani, KNH and Loresho land parcels.

Author: STN News

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