Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (Ketraco) has suspended a procurement executive after reports about investigations into his multi-million shilling wealth, including 40 developed plots linked to bribes and kickbacks from State contractors, leaked.
The State-owned power firm said the suspension followed media reports on the freeze of some assets belonging to Peter Maina Njehia in the wake of a suit over the unexplained wealth.
But the firm kept Mr Njehia in active employment despite having knowledge that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has been investigating his unexplained wealth, acquired between 2010 and March this year.
“The company is aware of the ongoing investigations on this matter and is fully cooperating with relevant investigating agencies,” Ketraco chairman Joe Mutambu said in a statement triggered by media reports of Mr Njehia’s unexplained wealth.
“Our attention has been drawn to articles in the local daily newspaper on corruption allegations of one of our senior managers…the board has taken administrative action and the manager sent on compulsory leave.” Ketraco did not indicate for how long they have been aware of the probe by the EACC, which says it has been investigating Mr Njehia since last year.
The EACC says the multi-million shilling assets acquired by Mr Njehia in the 11 years to 2021 were the proceeds of crime and do not match his known income.
The agency did not disclose the value of the real estate empire that includes rental apartments, farms for commercial agriculture and townhouses spread in Nairobi, Nakuru and Nyandarua counties.
Mr Njehia is said to have bought eight cars and stashed millions of shillings in bank accounts. The anti-graft agency moved to court on Tuesday and obtained orders freezing about Sh58.5 million held in several SACCO accounts under Mr Njehia’s name and that of his spouse.
Justice Esther Maina granted the order freezing the money for six months pending the conclusion of investigations.
The money frozen includes Sh25.4 million worth of shares in two accounts at Stima Sacco, Sh10 million shares in Unaitas, another Sh8.2 million shares in a different account at Unaitas and Sh930,000 in a dividend account at Unaitas.
The EACC told the court it was tracking more assets linked to Mr Njehia, including savings in a number of commercial banks, pointing to the vast wealth that the Ketraco manager had accumulated over the past decade.
According to documents filed by the EACC in court, Mr Njehia’s salary between 2010 and March 2021 stood at Sh35.7 million-plus imprest amounting to Sh4.48 million.
It is alleged that Mr Njehia used his position to influence and award tenders at Ketraco and the Ministry of Transport, where he previously worked.
“The respondent has illegally and irregularly engaged in the influence and award of tenders, procurement and payment of goods and services, which has seen him abuse his office, receive bribes, embezzle public funds and engage in corrupt conduct,” the EACC said in the petition filed before the anti-corruption division of the High court.
Mr Njehia allegedly made frequent deposits into his bank and Sacco accounts.
The commission said it was investigating his close family members, including his spouse Julie Hellen Matu and associated companies where he could have channelled the funds, and that it will soon be filing a petition to freeze the properties.
“An analysis of the preliminary investigations has raised reasonable suspicion that considering the respondent’s salary, large and frequent deposits into his bank accounts, shares and deposits in his SACCO account are disproportionate to his legitimate known sources of income and could have been obtained through corrupt conduct,” the EACC said.