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Fire Engine Scandal: Turkana Youth lobby group writes to DPP protesting slow process of prosecution

Turkana County Governor Josphat Nanok flags off a fire engine that was acquired by the county in November 2020.

Turkana Youth for Progress has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over their displeasure in the slow process of justice concerning the looting of county funds.

In May 2020, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) reportedly investigated Turkana County Government over the purchase of a Sh42 million fire engine.

“This commission is conducting investigations relating to (suspected) procurement irregularities in purchase of a fire engine by the county government of Turkana from Winston International,” stated EACC in a letter summoning Turkana County governor Josphat Nanok.

EACC also summoned Turkana County’s head of procurement Richard Emoru Oboo and the chief officer-finance Joseph Emathe Namuar and the Governor’s personal assistant.

DPP Noordin Haji

In March 2021, the DPP approved charges against Turkan County officials involved in the procurement of the fire engine and the directors of Winston International Company Limited, which was to supply and deliver the engine

“Investigations established that the fire engine was purchased by the Directorate of Urban Areas Management under the Ministry of Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Areas Management without the requisite budgetary allocation for the purchase of the fire engine in the financial year 2014/2015,” EACC said in a gazette notice.

“Upon completion of further investigations, the Commission resubmitted the inquiry file to DPP on 14th January, 2021. The DPP returned the inquiry file on 8th March, 2021 accepting recommendation for prosecution subject to addressing a few areas,” the commission noted.

The email was also copied to the Chief Justice, EACC, Office of the Ombudsman and the DCI is shared below.

Dear DPP and Madam CJ,

Please find an attachment for your record.

This is to bring to your attention, with shock, dismay and displeasure that fire engine corruption suspects from Turkana have not yet taken plea many months down the line, despite overwhelming evidence to sustain the case and secure conviction. Sad to conclude that there is a huge problem and gaps in institutions tasked with charging the suspects.

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I have followed up this case keenly and can conclude without blinking my eyes that the bottleneck is on the prosecution side (staff in Eldoret, North Rift) and Chief Magistrate in Eldoret(One Mr Linus Kassan). It is reached point in time I have to call them out. Do thorough audit of their work and if there is anything not adding up, then take corrective action and discipline these public servants. If you knew there was no case, then the prudent thing to do is to terminate the case. I am however convinced, since I know what happened concerning the fire engine that there is enough evidence to jail these criminals and recover lost funds. I am also aware a lot of bribes, more than the money Turkana people lost has been given out to kill this case. Do thorough intel based investigations on those who did investigation, on how money changed hands. Even if you are an average man, this is the simplest case, naive prosecutor can easily win.

Why has this case taken long to proceed? Who is protecting these thieves? How comes even connected and so called mafia/networked guys in Kenya take plea within no time? What is special about this group save for the money they are willing to bribe those who matter so as to buy their freedom? For how long shall this case drag? Well the fact that these guys still occupy important offices means that they are emboldened and continue perpetrating impunity. Enough is enough.

We, as Turkana youth organization would request your office to speed up this important case, corruption deterrent one. Also, investigate and punish officers who have slept on their job. If nothing meaningful does not take place as soon as possible, we shall match to the Office of DPP and Judiciary in both Eldoret and Nairobi. This is serious. We are getting fatigued and impatient with you.

We shall be glad for your quickest intervention.

With regards,

J LOWOI

SECRETARY GENERAL

 


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