The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has filed a suit in the High Court seeking to recover Ksh36.3 million allegedly embezzled by officials of the County Assembly of Homabay in collusion with a private contractor.
The amount was paid by the County Assembly of Homabay to Hartland Enterprises Limited, a private contractor, for work not done.
On Monday, August 29, 2022, Justice Daniel Ogembo of the High Court granted orders sought by EACC freezing Ksh13, 511,262.03 belonging to Hartland Enterprises Limited that EACC traced at the Cooperative Bank. The freezing orders will remain in force until the case is heard and determined.
The payment of Ksh36,270,032.68 as an excess amount was done with respect to tender No. HBCA/T/W6/2018-2019 for construction of Homa Bay County Assembly Office Block for a total sum of Ksh348,927,840.
The Commission seeks to recover the said sum of money jointly from Hartland Enterprises Limited which received the payment and County Assembly and National Government officials who facilitated the irregular payments.
Among those targeted in the suit include the former clerk of Homa Bay County Assembly and the accounting officer Odhiambo Daniel Kaudo, Hartland Enterprises directors James Mumali Oyukah and Mary Pauline Oduor, current Homa Bay County Assembly clerk Faith Adhiambo Apuko and Project Quantity Surveyor, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure Housing, Urban Development and Public Works Patrick Tonui.
According to an investigation by EACC, the suspects engaged in embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds, conflict of interest and abuse of office by some public officials at the County Assembly of Homa Bay.
"Investigation established that on 10th July 2019, M/s Hartland Enterprises Limited entered into a contract with the Homa Bay County Assembly Service Board for construction of MCAs’ offices for a consideration of Kshs. 348,927,840. The Contractor received payment in two tranches; Ksh35,117,320 on 25th June 2020 and Ksh31,597,605.14 on the 30th of June 2021 totalling Ksh66,714,925.14," EACC said.
"Upon assessment and evaluation of the project, the Commission established that the gross value of the work done and materials on site was only Ksh30,444,892.46 whereas the gross amount paid to the contractor was Ksh66,714,925.14. Therefore, the Contractor was irregularly paid Ksh36,270,032.68."
EACC is seeking an order for a liquidated sum of Ksh36.3 million and interest, being irregular payments made to Hartland Enterprises Limited by Homa Bay County Assembly for works not done.
The anti-graft agency is also seeking an order of forfeiture of Ksh13, 511,262.03 held in Cooperative Bank in the name of Hartland Enterprises Limited.
The case will be mentioned on September 27, 2022.