DPP Prefers Charges against Ex-National Museums Boss Over Kes.490 Million Ghost Workers Pay

April 15, 2024

The Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has announced charges against the former Director General of National Museums of Kenya, Dr. Mzalendo Kibunjia, and four others over the alleged payment of Kes.490 million to ghost workers between 2016 and 2022.

Kibunjia is set to face charges of embezzlement of funds at the National Museum of Kenya, which were allegedly disbursed as salaries to ghost employees and subsequently transferred to three officers within the institution.

Joining him in facing charges are three museum employees and one from Equity Bank: Stanvas Ongalo Opijah, the Director of Human Resources and Administration; Oliver Okinyi Rabuor, an ICT Officer in the Payroll Section; Wycliffe Odhiambo Ongata, an Accountant in the Payroll Section; and Equity Bank Accountant Oscar Mwaura Wambui.

“DPP made the Decision to Charge the former Director General of National Museums of Kenya, Dr. Mzalendo Kibunja, along with three employees and an employee of Equity Bank with embezzlement of Kes.490 million at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), which was irregularly paid as salaries to ghost employees and later transferred to officers of the institution between FY 2015/2016 and 2021/2022,” said the DPP.

The State Prosecutor said that an investigation into the case submitted by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) had justified the prosecution of the five suspects.

“The DPP upon further independent and thorough review of the resubmitted inquiry file, was satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to warrant the prosecution of the suspects,” the DPP added.

They will face five counts, including conspiracy to commit an offense of corruption, abuse of office, unlawful acquisition of public property, acquisition of proceeds of crime, and financial misconduct, all contrary to the law.

105 Ghost Workers on Payroll

Last year, the EACC revealed that the multi-million scandal involved the addition of 105 ghost workers to the payroll between May 2016 and April 2022.

Investigations established that these ghost workers received a gross salary ranging from Kes.88,000 to Kes.95,000, along with gratuity at a rate of 31 percent of the annual basic pay.

Further EACC investigations found that the ghost workers would retain a portion of the salaries received and transfer the remainder to officers at the National Museum of Kenya.

Furthermore, the ghost workers were required to secure loan facilities at a designated KCB bank branch and subsequently remit the loan amounts to NMK officials. As a token of appreciation, these ghost workers would receive between Kes. 100,000 and Kes.200,000 from the loan funds.

In total, these 105 ghost workers were allegedly paid cumulative salaries amounting to Kes.491,405,413 for the period.

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