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EACC Rules Linturi’s Man Bruno Mugambi Linyiru Is Corrupt To Hold Public Office

EACC has written to the Agriculture and Food Authority saying Bruno Mugambi Linyiru who is eying the authority’s director general seat has a pending graft case.

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Dr. Bruno Mugambi Linyiru.

A background check letter from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission(EACC) to Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) is frustrating the chances of Bruno Mugambi Linyiru from occupying the Director General’s position in the authority’s body.

In a letter seen by Kenya Insights written to AFA Board chairman Cornelly Serem dated February 29, EACC said Mr. Mugambi has a pending case arising from his arraignment in Milimani Court in 2015.

The commission said Mr. Mugambi was charged before Nairobi Milimani Anti-Corruption Court 1 vide ACC 20/2015 with the offence of willful failure to comply with the law relating to procurement contrary to Section 45 (2) (b) as read with Section 48 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.

“This was relating to allegations of procurement irregularities at the Geothermal Development Company. The matter is pending before court,” the letter said.

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The letter axed Mr. Mugambi for lack of integrity “Further, the Commission wishes to draw your attention to Section 12A of the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012, which places a mandatory requirement on any person seeking an appointment to public office to submit their Self-Declaration Form to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. Kindly ensure that the successful candidate complies with this requirement and inform this office.”

“The information provided herein is based on records available as of February 29, 2024,” EACC said.

EACC said it did not undertaken any investigations or recommended prosecution of two other candidates; Christine Chesaro Rotich and Helen Jemosbei Kemboi.

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi.

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi.

However, there are fears that the anti-graft body’s decision is being ignored. Insiders are saying that the Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi is relentlessly pushing for Mr. Mutambu’s appointment claiming that President Ruto has given a go ahead. Linturi is being accused of favoring Mr. Mugambi on tribal basis both being from the same Meru community.

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This is despite the president’s pronouncements of zero tolerance to corruption. The saga also arises at a time when the country is grappling with the fake fertilizer crisis that Linturi himself has been sweating to handle.

The GDC tender scam

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In 2015, the parastatal’s board dismissed six senior managers including Mr. Mugambi over a tender scam.

The board said its decision was based on EACC findings which recommended surcharging the six as well as subsequent criminal prosecution together with suspended GDC managing director Silas Simiyu for alleged irregular procurement of rig-moving services.

The EACC found the entire tender committee culpable due to glaring irregularities that exposed taxpayers’ funds to wanton embezzlement.

The report said the rigs meant for drilling and harvesting of steam were acquired by the government to ease the cost of geothermal development but were yet to harness adequate steam wells as earlier planned.

It recommended that the entire tender board should be jointly charged with abuse of office and must be surcharged to refund all money lost during the tender award.

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The EACC said the tender committee should be investigated for awarding Bonfide Clearing and Forwarding Ltd a contract to move geothermal rigs and other equipment in 40 lots, with each costing Sh42 million, in the Menengai drilling area within a radius of about 500 metres, bringing the total cost to Sh1.7 billion.

The six were accused of inflating the rig movement charges from Sh15 million to Sh42 million per rig, totalling Sh1.7 billion.

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Supreme Court 

On January 27, 2023, the Supreme Court ordered the stalled Sh1.7 billion graft case to proceed to its conclusion.

The Director of Public Prosecutions recommended charges against company secretary Praxidis Siasi and members of the GDC tender committee in 2015 but the matter didn’t take off owing to petitions challenging the decision.

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Some of them contended that the trial was grounded on non-existent offences.

The then High Court Judge Odunga barred the DPP from prosecuting the case.

He declared their prosecution unconstitutional. Aggrieved with the decision, the DPP and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission appealed.

The Court of Appeal reinstated the matter but the appellants Praxidis Namoni Saisi, Dr Peter Ayodo Omenda, Nicholas Karume Weke, Caleb Mbaye, Abraham Kipchirchir Saat, Michael Maingi Mbevi, Godwin Mwawongo, Linyuri appealed at the Supreme Court.

The apex court in ordering the case to proceed said there was nothing unpleasant in relation to the charges levelled against the appellants.

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The court dismissed claims of their constitutional rights being violated after they failed to prove allegations of malice and discrimination.

“It is our considered opinion that it would be logical that the appellants let the trial commence and conclude, during which trial they may raise all the issues they have as against the law under which they are charged. If successful, it is only then that they will pursue their rights on appeal,” the court said.

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AFA board advertised for the position of director general in December last year.

The board said it was seeking to replace the outgoing Director General Willis Audi.

Through a notice in local dailies, AFA called on all eligible candidates to submit their applications.

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Audi was appointed the authority’s acting DG in May 2023, after Beatrice Nyamwamu exited.

Nyamwamu was an agricultural resource and policy expert and one of the few women serving in the chief executive role at State corporations in the country.

She had become the second acting director-general to exit AFA in two years.

AFA is a state corporation that regulates the crop sector in Kenya to ensure compliance with the regulatory framework, standards, and codes of practice.

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