Kisii County: Ongwae-allied firms received millions to undertake ghost projects

Companies associated with Kisii County governor, James Ongwae, are at the centre of a scheme that defrauded the county treasury of more than KSh36.4 million in fraudulent tenders at the dawn of devolution in 2013.

Documents in possession of Kurunzi News show how Dekland International, a firm whose main director is Papa Peters Gichana; also a close friend to the governor, was paid KSh12.6 million to construct a modern slaughter house at Daraja Mbili market but no works were done.

A source privy to how the deal was crafted and executed has told Kurunzi News the money was paid to the firm, whose CEO – Papa, withdrew the cash and gave it to the governor.

Kurunzi News understands, the governor used several companies associated with Papa to siphon county monies through fraudulent procurement.

Inflated costs

In another deal, the county expended KSh23.8 million for the purchase of 70 motorbikes at a inflated cost of KSh340,000 but only 34 were delivered. This was against a market price of KSh90,000, meaning the supplier only spent KSh3,060,000 and pocketed the balance of the money, amounting to KSh20,740,000.

The motorcycles were supposed to be given to ward administrators and county revenue collection officers. The county has 45 wards.

“It was a ploy to channel back the money to the governor and that is what happened,” said the source, confirming the money was withdrawn and delivered to the county boss.

False bursary

The source adds the motorbikes were handed out as personal property from the governor and ended up being used by his camapign team in 2017 as he sough re-election for a second term.

This new revelation comes after Kurunzi News broke the story of how the county may have lost hundreds of millions in false bursary allocations between 2016 and 2018.

Further perusal of the documents in possession of Kurunzi News, shows how the county lost, through the same syndicate tens of millions in other fraudulent procurement, including the walkways tender where a company associated with the governor was paid to do them (walkways) in Kisii town but did nothing.

Ongwae has been on the radar of Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission and has, in the past, recorded statements on corruption and financial impropriety in his county, among other governance issues.


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