Kilifi county procurement head steps aside citing harassment from EACC officers

Kilifi County head of supply chain Management Matano Riziki shows the letter he wrote explaining why he is stepping aside. PHOTO: DAVID NGUMBAO.

Kilifi, KENYA: Kilifi County head of procurement and supply chain management Matano Choga has stepped aside citing harassment from Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission officers.

Matano said the EACC officers ambushed him in his office on Friday afternoon and took him to Malindi for interrogations over a pending case on claims of corruption.

“They raided my offices without a warrant of arrest and took me to Malindi saying they were under instructions from a person best known to them to arrest me. They could not explain to me why they did not summon me to Malindi instead of coming for me in my office,” said Matano.

In a press briefing in Kilifi town over the weekend, Matano said the EACC officers from Malindi ambushed him saying they had been ordered to arrest him following a pending case which had been completed a day after.

“I have voluntarily decided to step aside to allow for investigations and logical conclusion of the Court case filed by EACC on 13th March 2015. I want to stay outside the office to allow EACC to complete its ongoing investigations since last year when I was arrested on 13th March 2015 and up to date it has not come to an end,” said Matano, In a letter addressed to Chief Officer, Finance and Economic Planning Ben Kai.

According to him, the case came by following a prominent businessman in Mombasa who sued him on allegations of demanding a bribe from him to be awarded a tender.

The business man later presented a sworn affidavit on 6th May 2016 to withdraw the case in Court.

He said after his arrest, he made a petition at the Court of appeal in Malindi expressing his dissatisfaction over the whole issue and the matter was ruled and the case was to proceed in Malindi.

However the case was not mentioned on 1st April 2015 due to the order from the complainant.

“I will not be scared by the officers who are always on my neck, they did not pick anything or conduct any search. It is better I step aside and let the law take its course because I was not forcing myself in office but it’s only that I felt that my arrest was not genuine,” ” Matano said.

Matano refuted the ongoing allegations that he compromised the complainant to withdraw the case in court.

He said he has never met him since 2015 when he was arrested and neither has the businessman transacted any business in the County from then.

He is out on sh.150, 000 cash bail which he was issued on 1st March 2015 after pleading not guilty for demanding sh .400, 000 bribe from the businessman.

This is one year later after an amended charge sheet was presented to Court.

Speaking through phone, an Anti-Corruption officer who is not authorized to speak to the press said Matano was not arrested but that was part of the ongoing investigations concerning corruption cases in the County.

“Nobody was arrested, that was a normal interrogations on the many cases which EACC is conducting in Kilifi County,” said the officer.