Investigations into an alleged Sh1 billion Mombasa County garbage tendering and procurement scandal will be concluded “very soon”, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) spokesman Yunis Aila has said.

Mr Aila confirmed by phone from Nairobi on Tuesday that the anti-graft agency was investigating the issue, raised by Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar during his Monday media briefing.

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Without giving details, Mr Aila told the Nation the EACC will soon disclose its findings to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Said Mr Aila: “It is just a matter of time before we conclude investigations and hand over our findings to the relevant authorities for action.”

At his Renaissance Building office on Monday, Senator Omar said the issue had been a subject of investigation by EACC for two years.

“Despite incontrovertible evidence before the EACC, there has been no prosecutions,” Mr Omar lamented.

“Whether public officials or private citizens, those involved in the irregular award of a contract and payment amounting to Sh1 billion or more over the past three to four years should be prosecuted,” he said.

The Wiper Democratic Movement secretary-general also asked the EACC to recover from Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, who is the ODM deputy party leader, his officers and other private individuals who may be beneficiaries, the proceeds of the alleged irregular award.

At the same function, Bamburi MCA Riziki Fundi claimed he was dropped as deputy chair of the Finance Committee after questioning the issue in the County Assembly.

Contacted for a comment, however, Mombasa Education and Environment Executive Tendai Lewa Mtana dismissed the senator’s claims, saying he just wanted to draw attention to himself.

IRREGULARLY AWARDED CONTRACT

“He is not being honest and he should not bury his head in the sand by engaging in sideshows instead of engaging us because our doors are open,” said Mr Mtana, adding that the senator should stop being a “coward”.

For the war against graft to be won, Mr Omar said, it should be fought with candour and grit.

“The noose of prosecution and conviction must tighten around its entire perpetrators, regardless of affiliations whether ethnic, political or other considerations,” the senator added.

According to him, the county government irregularly allocated the contract for garbage collection through single-sourcing, in contravention of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015, to a company whose directors are believed to be close associates of the governor.

“That the said company has been irregularly paid a sum of Sh300 million annually for garbage collection,” said Mr Omar, adding that the irregular award and the sum is further supported by the Auditor-General’s report for the year ended June 30, 2015.

In a September 15, 2016 report, Auditor-General Edward Ouko indicated that receipts and payments reflected a balance of Sh1,598,854,000 for use of goods and services for the year ended June 30, 2015. This included Sh289,889,751 paid to a firm outsourced to collect garbage.

The audit review revealed that the cost was charged under different votes — insurance Sh18,781,560, specialised materials and services Sh69,121,556 and other operating expenditure Sh201,986,635.

“It was not clear under which vote the expenditure had been budgeted for,” Mr Ouko says, adding that the county government was in breach of the law.