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DPP approves charges against ex-KPA boss Manduku after push and pull with DCI

Former Managing Director of the Kenya Ports Authority Daniel Manduku will finally face charges over KSh244 million scandal after a protracted stand-off between investigators and prosecutors.

Manduku was first arrested in March by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations who arraigned him in court where he was freed after the prosecution opposed charges he was about to face.

Then, the state through the Directorate of Public Prosecutions had said it was not aware of the charges because the DCI had not submitted the file for perusal and approval.

And just like that, Manduku was freed in what brought into fore a bitter fall-out between DCI boss George Kinoti and DPP Noordin Haji.

At the time, Kinoti was categorical that his findings on the investigations were elaborate and watertight, with no need to go through the DPP to prosecute a case.

But DPP insisted that his office is charged with the responsibilty of approving all criminal charges, in what threatened to stall Manduku’s case and several others whose files had not been submitted to the DPP.

On Thursday, the DPP issued a statement said he had received and perused a filed from the DCI on investigations at the port, and was satisfied that Manduku and Works Officer Juma Fadhili Chugulu are liable for the loss of KSh244 million paid out to contractors in the manufacture of concrete barriers at the Inland Container Depot, Kilindini Port and the Makongeni Goodshed Yard without a procurement plan and approved budget.

In March, Manduku was arrested alongside Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner for Customs Kevin Safari whose name was missing from the DPP’s statement, a clear indication that there is no evidence to charge him.

“I am satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to support charges for various offenses against the two,” the DPP said.

Apart from handpicking the 10 contractors who were involved in the construction, Manduku is accused of proceeding with a multi-million shilling project without a requisition, procurement plan, and an approved budget for the financial year 2018-2019.

The amount in question, the DPP said, was an overpayment to the contractors for work that had not been completed.

The two are the latest casualties in a sustained war on corruption, that has not spared even the high and mighty.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado, his four children, county staff and suppliers were set to face charges Thursday for siphoning KSh73.4 million from county coffers.

Also charged Wednesday was Masai Mara University Vice-Chancellor Prof Mary Walingo and four officials, including his driver and suppliers in an elaborate corruption scheme involving KSh177 million.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed a spirited war on corruption and even directed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to expedite probe on the alleged loss of more than KSh7 billion that was managed by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority on COVID-19 management.

“That investigation must be completed within 21 days and no one will be spared,” the president said Wednesday in an address to the nation on the status of COVID-19.

KEMSA Chief Executive Officer Jonah Manjari, Procurement boss Charles Juma and other officials are on suspension to pave way for the investigation in which they are accused of awarding multi-million tenders to suppliers for the supply of personal Protective Equipment, masks and other COVID-19 items with no regard to the public procurement laws.

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