Several individuals and entities linked to the fraudulent purchase of audit vault software by the office of the Auditor-General at a cost of Sh100 million were Tuesday arraigned in court to face several graft charges.
They include Stephen Ndung’u Kinuthia, Annette Mwangi, Patrick Shem Kamau Maina, Ephantus Kairu Kahwae, Sylvester Kiptoo Kiplagat, Charles Githinji Gichobi, Charles Karisa Mwaduna, Edward Mulewa Mwachinga, OSI Kenya Ltd, and Mars Technology Ltd.
It is alleged that between July 4, 2012 and August 17, 2014, they jointly conspired to commit an economic crime of fraudulent acquisition of public funds, Sh100,675,680.70 in regard to the tender for the supply and implementation of an audit vault software in the office of the Auditor General.
They all denied the charge, including several others read to them individually, and a ruling on their bail application is set to be delivered tomorrow, October 23.
“The court will deliver a ruling at 10pm on the bail application by the accused,” ruled Anti-corruption court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti.
The other counts through affected only particular accused were: deceiving principal contract, conflict of interest, unlawful acquisition of public property, dealing with suspect property, and money laundering.
Their arrest was as a result of intense investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on claims of corruption in that office as the estimated cost of the software was Sh18 million yet Sh100,675,680.70 was spent.
The software was purchased from Open Systems Integration (OSI) Kenya through direct procurement.
“Single sourcing was unjustified in the procurement and the payment was grossly exaggerated,” EACC in an earlier statement.
Part of the Sh100 million was paid as kickbacks to public officials, private persons and their associated companies.
The audit vault is a centralised data base that securely stores audit information.
The Auditor-General installed it in 2014, saying it would help track irregular transactions in public institutions.
The prosecution has also filed an application seeking to have all the accused deposit their passports in court, as a condition to guarantee that they will not flee the country prior to their trail.