The authorities in the country of Kenya have charged 54 people — most of them civil servants — with stealing close to $100 million of public funds.
In what is seen as a rare move to hold officials accountable for graft, Reuters reported that, according to Kenyan’s Chief Prospector Noordin Mohamed Haji, among those “charged was the head of the National Youth Service, … senior accountants within the government agency and the chief internal auditor of the national treasury.”
During a televised press conference, Haji said that 20 have been taken into custody, noting that the rest should turn themselves in. Suspects would be charged in court on Tuesday (May 29).
He said that this investigation is different from past graft investigations because he is examining the role local banks play in it. “In phase two of investigations, the director of criminal investigations will focus on additional areas, including companies or entities that benefited from the fraudulent payments and banks that were complicit,” he said, adding that he will choose four prosecutors to assist with the investigation.
Through inquiries, his office and police have discovered that funds were taken via fake invoices and multiple payments to one supplier invoice. “Investigations reveal that there was no procurement whatsoever,” he said, noting that several bank accounts that the funds were channeled through were frozen.
Critics of the government have long said that the only way to end the widespread graft in the country was to arrest the big names. So far, that hasn’t happened. The report also noted that the government agency was involved in a scandal three years ago and that, earlier in 2018, a court acquitted close to two dozen officials at the agency regarding the theft of 48 million shillings in 2015.