Anti-corruption detectives on Wednesday raided and searched the homes of Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine in Samburu and the capital Nairobi.
Sources at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) told the Nation that the investigators were looking for files related to fishy expenditure of Sh2 billion.
In a statement, EACC said it searched the residences of Mr Kassaine, his Personal Assistant Simon Etiene, County Assembly Speaker Solomon Lempere, several county chief officers, executive committee members and contractors awarded phony tenders.
According EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak, the county has lost more than Sh2 billion in the last four years.
“The investigations revealed gross financial misappropriation, conflict of interest and embezzlement of funds in an organised and systematic pattern involving county officials working in diverse departments,” Mr Mbarak said.
EACC said their investigations revealed that some officials of the county government had registered companies that were awarded contracts worth over Sh 700 million but no service was rendered.
Mr Mbarak said investigations proved that the money was withdrawn in cash and shared amongst various county officials.
In other cases that are still being investigated, contractors were awarded tenders worth Sh1 billion for works that were partly done after they paid kickbacks to county officials.
“The commission has evidence of millions of shillings in bribes paid to various county employees by companies that awarded contracts,” it said.
“Investigations further revealed that the officers under investigations invested the embezzled funds in real estate development,” it added.
The commission revealed that it was planning to freeze assets that were fraudulently acquired by the county staff.
When the Nation team arrived at the governor’s Karen home in Nairobi at 8am, the search was ongoing but no one, apart from family members and detectives, were allowed into the compound.
“The governor is in,” an aide to the governor told journalists.
The officers who raided the residences were armed with search warrants from court.
“We are targeting the governor, chief officers, directors and contractors for wanton misappropriation of public funds amounting to Sh2 billion,” the source told the Nation during the raid in Karen.
In Maralal, EACC detectives blocked some county government workers from accessing their offices.
Staff working at Mr Kasaine’s office and the county treasury were denied access after the EACC team made a human shield and blocked the entrances before locking them with a huge padlock.
“I had reported to work as usual when I found people guarding our office, they identified themselves as EACC officers and ordered me to go back until when they will open the office,” a cleaner said outside the offices.
At the county boss’s home, no one was allowed to get into the compound as unknown number of EACC officers combed through the rooms.
A source at the gate said the keys to the bungalow were brought by a close ally of the county boss.
Mr Kasaine and his county government are yet to react to the raids.
Additional report by Johnston Keti in Nakuru.