Homa Bay county assembly clerk Bob Kephas Otieno wired Sh26.2 million from the county coffers into his wife’s bank account, EACC investigations show.
In documents filed in court, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission says Kephas transferred the cash to a firm owned by his wife Everline Awino for supplying nothing.
The money was disguised as payment for goods and services which were never rendered.
“Being husband and wife, Awino was legally barred from doing business with the county assembly of Homa Bay as it would raise conflict of interest,” EACC says.
As clerk, Kephas is the assembly’s accounting officer who approves all payments.
The money was transferred in five tranches within five months in 2016 to the accounts of Nyangume Enterprise, owned by Awino. The company was registered on July 13, 2013.
The first payment of Sh4 million was made on August 18, 2016. Another Sh1.24 million was wired into the account at Equity Bank exactly a week later.
On September 9, 2016, another payment of Sh2.2 million was made. Between October 17, 2016 and December 17, 2016, an additional Sh14 million was transferred.
On December 21, 2016, Sh3 million was paid to the account before another Sh1.8 million was again paid on January 26 last year.
EACC says part of the money was later transferred to Kephas account in what the agency calls a collusion between husband and wife to defraud the county.
For instance, on August 20, 2016, just two days after the assembly made the first payment to Awino, she transferred Sh600,000 to her husband’s account.
She again transferred another Sh150,000 to Kephas’s account on November 5, 2016.
EACC has filed a recovery suit for the Sh26.2 million which they say was fraudulently obtained. The agency also froze Awino’s business accounts.
But only Sh636,200 was in the account at the time the commission got the freezing orders.
When she was first grilled by EACC detectives, Awino denied doing any business with the county nor receiving payments.
She now claims she supplied the goods and deserves to be paid. EACC said her firm was neither prequalified nor appeared in the tender quotation register.
“Awino’s business does not appear in the tender or quotation register of the Homa Bay,” the agency says.
Kephas is among seven county officials whose arrest and prosecution was recently ordered by Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.
Others are Michael Owino Ooro, Isaac Ouso Nyandege, Judith Akinyi Omongo, Caroline Sang, Morris Odiwuor Amek and Edwin Omondi Okollo.
According to the DPP, they are suspected to have misappropriated Sh26,872,278 when procuring hotel services and payment of allowances to MCAs.