Why Nairobi MCAs Want Liquor Board Officials Prosecuted

September 8, 2023

Nairobi’s Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) are sounding the alarm, urging swift action by the anti-corruption watchdog, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). They seek the prosecution of five former City Hall officials entangled in the alleged misappropriation of substantial County Alcoholic Drinks and Liquor Licensing Board funds, amounting to millions of shillings.

Chege Mwaura, Chairperson of the Select Committee on Public Accounts, made the plea while officially submitting a report to the EACC. This report is the outcome of a rigorous audit that scrutinized the financial activities of the liquor board during the fiscal years 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.

In Mr. Chege’s words, “We have engaged in extensive discussions with the commission, and they have pledged to address the issues concerning the implicated officers and actively pursue the recovery of public funds lost during those financial years.”

The officials implicated in the report include Alan Igambi (former Executive of Trade, Tourism, and Cooperatives), Dr. Jairus Musumba (former Chief Officer for Trade, Tourism, and Cooperatives), Mohamed Sahal (former Chief Officer for Trade and Tourism), Hesbon Agwena (former Director), and Julius Matekwa (former Accountant at the board).

These individuals, serving as the liquor fund’s accounting officers, are accused of flouting various procurement laws during their tenure. A significant concern raised by the MCAs revolves around the absence of proper receipts accounting for revenue collected in the financial years ending in 2018/2019 and 2019/2020. Despite reports of the board amassing Sh427 million and Sh515 million for the respective fiscal years, there’s a conspicuous lack of documented proof illustrating the funds’ transfer to the bank account overseen by the fund.

Robert Alai, MCA for Kileleshwa, underscored the urgency of the situation while condemning the alleged financial extravagance exhibited by the board’s officials.

He state, “This board has evaded auditing for two years now. They have consistently collected revenue, yet the officials seemingly indulged in extravagant trips to luxurious destinations. We beseech the commission to take immediate action and recover the public resources purportedly lost.”

The MCAs further probed the officials following an audit report submitted by Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu, which was presented before the Nairobi City County Assembly.

The Auditor-General’s report raises concerns about the liquor board’s blatant disregard for the Public Procurement Act by submitting financial statements three months after the close of the fiscal year, making it challenging to conduct a thorough audit of the financial records.

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