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Civil Service Fraud

Court orders Ketraco manager Peter Njehia’s Sh216 million unexplained wealth frozen

Peter Maina Njehia: When asked to attribute his wealth, Njehia could only explain assets worth KSh 21,432,587, leaving out KSh 216,374,181

A year after being caught pants down by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission sleuths, the court has ordered his accounts frozen.

Peter Maina Njehia, the Senior Manager, Supply Chain at the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO), was found to have looted the parastatal during rogue Fernandes Barasa’s tenure.

In December 2021, Justice Esther N. Maina ordered Sh58 million in his account frozen.

The EACC was also given a go-ahead to investigate Mr Maina’s close family members, including but not limited to his spouse Julie Hellen Matu together.

The court further gave orders for the companies and properties associated with them to also be investigated.

It was suspected that Njehia could have channelled proceeds of corruption to their bank, SACCO and investment accounts and the Commission shall be filing an application seeking to freeze their accounts and properties in due course.

On Friday 25th November 2022, nearly a year later, EAC found more evidence of wealth from proceeds of crime.

EACC was given orders to freeze assets worth Sh216,374,181.94 belonging to the main suspect, Peter Maina Njehia.

Delivering her ruling Friday (24th November, 2022), Lady Justice Esther Maina said that the Commission had established a prima facie case with a probability of success to warrant the issue of injunction orders pending the hearing and determination of the forfeiture proceedings.

A prima facie case is established where the evidence tendered by the prosecution is sufficient on its own for a court to return a guilty verdict if no other explanation in rebuttal is offered by an accused person.

EACC

The Commission went to Court following investigation of allegations of unexplained wealth, unethical conduct, bribery and conflict of interest against the KETRACO official.

Suspected of engaging in corruption

Investigations undertaken by the Commission established that between January 2010 and March 2021, which period Njehia was reasonably suspected of engaging in corruption, he acquired assets worth Ksh 278,049,625.39 against his known total legitimate income of Ksh 40,242,855.99 for the said period thereby resulting to assets disproportion of Ksh 237,806,769.40 as set out below:

Investigations established that at the time of acquisition of these assets, Peter Maina Njehia had received funds individuals and institutions that had secured tenders with his employer (KETRACO).

In one instance, Sieyuan Electric Company Limited which had been awarded a tender by KETRACO deposited a total of Ksh 3,000,000.00 in two bank accounts belonging to Njehia’s spouse.

Similarly, Njehia received Ksh 400,000.00 and Ksh 85,000.00 respectively from Jooyato Surveys Limited and Jacob Oyato, a Director of Jooyato Surveys Limited at a time the said company had been awarded several contracts by KETRACO.

During execution of search at his premises in Nairobi, an amount of Ksh 1,020, 000.00 in cash was seized from his motor vehicle. The source of the said cash could not be reasonably ascertained.

The Commission, therefore, pursuant to sections 26 & 55 (2) of ACECA on 25th April, 2022 issued a Notice to Peter Maina Njehia to explain the disproportion in his assets with his known legitimate source(s) of income.

The anti-graft agency received a response on 17th May 2022 which response was considered and after analysis a cumulative assets of value of Ksh 21,432,587.46 was found to have been satisfactorily explained leaving out an unexplained disproportion of Ksh 216,374,181.94.

Did Ketraco boss Fernandes Barasa give contracts to broke firms for free?

Following his inability to explain the source of assets worth Ksh 216,374,181.94, the Commission on 14th September 2022 issued a demand Notice requiring him to remit the above unexplained assets to the Commission for return to the public.

He failed to comply with the demand to surrender the assets prompting the Commission to institute recovery proceedings.

Filed simultaneously with the forfeiture suit was an application under Certificate of Urgency for injunction orders to forestall any dealings with the unexplained assets pending the hearing and determination of the forfeiture proceedings.

The EACC application came up for ruling Friday before Justice Esther Maina where the Court ruled in favour of the Commission to preserve the assets pending the hearing and determination of the substantive forfeiture suit.

 


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