An internal audit at the ICT Authority has uncovered how four senior staff stole Sh160 Million in six short months.
The damning report by internal auditor Patrick Masika Machimbo covered January 1 to July 19 this year. It claims the senior managers were directly involved in fraudulent cash transfers which were mostly masked as employee deductions.
Masika found out that the withdrawals from the agency’s coffers were just below Sh500,000. Any amount of Sh500,000 or above would have required approval from the CEO.
“The total withdrawals in any of the days was over half a million shillings. This indicated splitting of cash withdrawals to avoid the CEO’s approval,” the report said.
During the six month period, Sh78 million was withdrawn in cash, Sh20.8 million was directly transferred into the accounts of four staff, and Sh61.3 million was paid into an account at Equity Bank.
The four culprits mentioned in the report are, Director Corporate services Felix Ongaga (Sh4.4 million), the Head of Finance Daniel Ouma (Sh5.4 million), Accountant Peter Mwangi (Sh5.4 million) and Cashier Anthony Mwangi (Sh5.4 million).
Most of the stolen money had been budgeted for internship opportunities targeting 400 engineering and ICT graduates under the Presidential Digital Talent Programme.
The hundreds of withdrawals were made from the authority’s bank accounts using falsified documents that showed transfers made to the same private bank accounts but bearing different names.
“Some Sh61.3 million was paid to account number 0820298594935, Equity Bank, under 21 different account names between February 9 and July 6, 2017.
The 21 names using the same account number are the names of existing Sacco societies, but the account number does not belong to the Saccos. Collusion from the bank is needed for money to be wired to the same account number under different names,” the report indicates.
The auditor noted that use of Sacco societies to send money to a single bank account was an indication of a well-planned scam that would take a long time to be detected.
He further expressed fear that the massive looting could have happened for a lot longer, meaning that the taxpayer could have lost more than the Sh160 Million.
As such, the auditor recommends the scope of the audit be expanded to cover the financial year 2015-16.
On Tuesday, ICT Principal Secretary Victor Kyalo said Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives and Assets Recovery Agency officers had been called in to pursue the architects of the massive theft.
The audit was initiated by the acting chief executive officer, Mr Robert Mugo, on July 19.
The ICT Authority falls under the docket of CS Joe Mucheru(Information and Communication).