Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Government Officials who stole IDP's Money To Face Prosecution


A former provincial commissioner and 22 district commissioners are among officials expected to be charged in court over the loss of Sh500 million meant for the resettlement of internally displaced persons.

The former PC, a serving PC, the 22 DCs, and a large number of district officers, accountants, and other government officials have recorded statements with a special squad of detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department.

The officer in charge of the bureau, Mr Gideon Kimilu, Wednesday told the Nation that a team of detectives was investigating the fraud.

Fraudulent loss

“It is true that we are investigating the fraudulent loss of money,” Mr Kimilu said.

The investigators have established that some of the suspects, including the former PC and several DCs, bought prime property in Nairobi and other major towns during the period when the money was stolen.

The detectives, who have been on the case for the past three months on the instructions of the Office of the President, have reportedly gathered loads of documents from the districts affected and the Rift Valley provincial headquarters.

More than 400 witnesses have recorded statements, with many of them being said to have implicated the officials under investigation.

Forensic audits have traced how Sh148 million of the stolen money was re-routed to private pockets by provincial administration officials responsible for the resettlement programme.

Fictitious

Investigators found that the administrators would withdraw millions of shillings meant for IDPs and create fictitious lists of victims that would then be presented as beneficiaries.

However, when the investigators went to the ground and tried to trace the supposed beneficiaries, they found that they did not exist.

In October last year, Special Programmes minister Naomi Shabaan blamed the provincial administration for the loss of Sh100 million meant for IDPs. Her PS then, Mr Ali Mohammed, said his ministry had given DCs the authority to incur expense in the resettlement programme.

Former Laikipia West DC Javan Ombasa is currently facing charges in a Nakuru court for allegedly stealing Sh8.75 million meant for IDPs in Molo.

More than 600,000 people were forced out of their farms during the post-election violence in December 2007 and early 2008.

The government spent hundreds of millions of shillings to find new homes for them or to them get back to their farms.

The Internally Displaced People became ‘refugees’ in their own country following violence that occurred after the disputed 2007 General Election results.

More than 350,000 people were rendered homeless in the violence that also led to the deaths of at least 1,3000 others.

Some of the areas that haboured IDPs in the country included parts of Eldoret, Trans Nzoia, Kwanza Uasin Gishu, Molo, Naivasha, Nakuru Koibatek among others in Rift Valley province. Others were parts of Western, Nyanza and Nairobi provinces.

With nowhere to call home after their houses were completely destroyed in the violence, the IDP’s were forced to seek alternative land where they constructed makeshift camps.

It is in these camps that they endured difficult living conditions like diseases and changing weather forcing the government, through the ministry of Special Programmes, to intervene.

The ministry initiated a resettlement plan dubbed “Operation Rudi Nyumbani”.

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