Shock as Sh2 billion graft suspect awarded state job

A key suspect in a Sh2 billion graft probe targeting Migori Governor Okoth Obado is among tens of individuals awarded with plum State appointments.

Information Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru appointed Jared Peter Odoyo Kwaga to the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC) board.

In a February 8 gazette notice, Mr Mucheru listed Mr Kwaga alongside former Bonchari MP Zebedeo John Opore, KBC chairman Edward Musebe, former NGO Coordination Board member Dee Kivuva Mutisya, former newscaster Beatrice Marshall and former National Quality Control Laboratory Board member Kagiri Kamatu.

The seven started a three-year term on Friday, and will serve until February 7, 2022.

Mr Kwaga runs a Pasha Centre in Migori. Pasha Centres are part of a digital village project by the ICT Authority, which provide internet access to entrepreneurs seeking training and communication in rural areas.

The centres are privately owned and run, but get necessary assistance from the ICT Authority.

Mr Kwaga’s Pasha Centre is among nearly 40 others spread across the country and the only one in Migori.

But the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) believes that Mr Kwaga is also one of the proxies that Governor Obado used to siphon over Sh2 billion from county coffers.

When the anti-graft watchdog sought court assistance to trace and freeze assets believed to be part of Mr Obado’s fraud scheme, it listed Mr Kwaga as a first respondent.

Mr Kwaga owns seven companies that the EACC insists received money through dubious supply contracts before wiring the funds to Mr Obado in a complicated web of transactions.

Mr Kwaga’s wife Christine Akinyi Ochola, brothers Patroba Ochanda Otieno and Joram Opala Otieno and his mother Penina Auma are also part of the scheme, as per the EACC’s court filings.

While the Migori-based businessman has not been found guilty of fraud, his appointment is certain to raise debate at a time the war on graft tops President Uhuru Kenyatta’a agenda – alongside healthcare, housing, manufacturing and food security.


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