Suspended Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau had a long date with justice yesterday as he faced five charges of abuse of office and irregular use of public funds.
A visibly distraught Mr Kamau first presented himself to court in the morning to honor summons issued against him on Tuesday. In the dock with him were a former resident engineer in the Ministry of Roads, Mr Nicholas Ng’ang’a, and a member of the ministerial tender committee, Mr Kata Matemu Kithyo.
Before the charges were read out, senior principal magistrate Lawrence Mogambi handed Mr Kamau over to the custody of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission detectives.
The EACC officers, who were strategically stationed in the court corridors, immediately took over the operations and surrounded Mr Kamau and Mr Ng’ang’a before leading them to their waiting cars at the court’s parking bay.
The two were then whisked away in four cars to Integrity Centre to register their particulars and have their fingerprints taken, after which they were taken back to court two hours later to plead to the charges.
The magistrate raised Mr Kamau’s and Mr Ng’ang’a’s bail terms to Sh1 million, which was higher than the Sh600,000 for the six other officials of the roads ministry who were charged on Tuesday.
“Unlike the rest who cooperated and came to court earlier, they proved difficult and evaded arrest. It was only after the Director of Public Prosecution applied for summons that they came to court. Therefore, they cannot be released on similar terms as the others,” ruled Mr Mogambi.
To avoid the embarrassment of being handcuffed and led to the basement cells, the suspended CS asked the magistrate to allow him to remain in court as his team of lawyers processed the cash bail.
Mr Kamau became the first cabinet secretary to be charged with corruption after President Uhuru Kenyatta tabled in Parliament a list of shame that also named his colleagues Charity Ngilu, Kazungu Kambi, Felix Kosgey and Davies Chirchir adversely in corruption cases. Mrs Ngilu has since been cleared of one of the charges.
Mr Kamau was yesterday accused of flouting guidelines relating to management of public funds.
“Being a person whose functions concerned management of public revenue, you wilfully failed to comply with the rules by ignoring the design of Kamukuywa-Kaptama-Kapsokwony-Sirisia Road done by Engiconsult Limited at the cost of Sh33,303,600 and entering into a memorandum under which the resident engineer redesigned the same road,” read the charge sheet.
The second count was that Mr Kamau abused his authority by causing the road to be redesigned without involving Engiconsult Consulting Engineers Limited.
Mr Ng’ang’a was also accused of abuse of office, where he was alleged to have used his authority as the resident engineer to cause the redesigning of the Kamukuywa-Kaptama-Kapsokwony-Sirisia Road without following due process.
FOLLOW PROCUREMENT RULES
In another count, Mr Kamau, Mr Ng’ang’a and Mr Kithyo were accused of engaging in a project without prior planning.
Mr Kamau and Mr Kithyo faced yet another count of failing to follow procurement rules in awarding the tender which had the effect of quantity variation for works exceeding 15 per cent of the original contract between the government and Kundan Singh Construction Company.
The three denied all the offences, which were allegedly committed on various dates between 2007 and 2008 when Mr Kamau served as a PS in the Ministry of roads in the Grand Coalition government.