Business in sections of Kilifi county came to a standstill for hours on Saturday after supporters of governor Amason Kingi took to the streets to celebrate the decision by the director of public prosecution (DPP) Keriako Tobiko, to withdraw a corruption case against the governor.
Kingi had been accused of irregularly purchasing the governor’s residence in Kilifi, by inflating the price of the residence to 168 million shillings from an alleged market value of 68 million shillings.
His accusers claimed the governor manipulated the tendering and buying process of the residence, but on Friday, the DPP, in a press statement, said investigations had revealed the residence was in fact bought at 140 million shillings, a price he said was reasonable and not inflated.
“EACC (Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission), having found that procurement laws and regulations had been complied with, that the purchase price of Kshs. 140 million was reasonable and not inflated, and that no quantifiable monetary loss was incurred by Kilifi County government in procuring the governor’s house, recommended that the file to be closed,” the DPP’s statement, read in part.
A jubilant Kingi who addressed supporters in Kilifi town, claimed the corruption allegations had been crafted by his political enemies, in what he said was an effort to divide Kilifi residents as well as tarnish his name.
He said several local leaders had in the past year been traversing the county and attending burial ceremonies where they mud-smeared him over procurement of the house, adding that he had never participated directly in the procurement process.
“This is not my home, it’s a home which all governors in Kilifi county will live in starting by myself. Once my term is over I am going to give space to my successor who will come after me and hence forth,” said Kingi, as the crowd cheered.
While exonerating the governor, the DPP nonetheless noted that a number of issues in the procurement process had raised doubt that the successful bidder may have been pre-determined to win the tender.
“DPP……nevertheless directed that stern administrative/disciplinary action be taken against members of the evaluation and tender committee as well as the county secretary and the head of treasury (Accounting), for dereliction of duty in relation to the tender in question,” read the statement.
In other related cases, Tobiko directed the prosecution of the National Police Service Commission chairman Johnston Kavuludi, and the chief executive officer of the youth enterprise development fund, who were found to have flouted procurement rules in their respective dockets.