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Former Uhuru CS Najib Balala faces another arrest

EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak hints at another arrest for Former Tourism CS Najib Balala in the Ksh 8 billion scandal.

Just a week after being charged at the Malindi Law Courts the construction of Utalii College in Kilifi County, which has an estimated Ksh8.5 billion in worth, former cabinet secretary for tourism Najib Balala faces the possibility of being arrested again.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Twalib Mbarak said in a media interview on Tuesday that inquiries into the second part of the controversy were ongoing and that Balala might be questioned further to provide more information on the embezzlement of money.  

In the first phase where a file was already forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), the Commission probed the former CS’s involvement in consultancy services. 

Mbarak claimed that in this phase, architectural teams were contracted for the provision of the designs for the construction of the college.

In contrast, the second phase revolves around the contract that was granted for the project’s construction, which has subsequently come to a standstill.

“For your information, this case has got two phases. Phase 1 is about the consultancy, and there is the construction part of it. We are yet to finish that file, and there will be a second case coming on the same matter, and most likely, it will hit on the same people,” Mbarak stated. 

“This is one of the sad stories of this country where a big grand project has stalled because of corruption.” 

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The Tourism Fund website indicated that the project was 77.74 percent complete as of December 2022. 

“The amount of money that that college was allocated, which was roughly Ksh2 billion, went up to Ksh8 billion. Right now, if you go to that site, it is a very sad story. You have a very big college under construction, but it is stuck,” stated Mbarak. 

Investigations into the latter phase are at the tail end, and the file, which is likely to bring forth new charges, will be forwarded to the ODPP in due course.

Najib Balala was first arrested only days before Christmas day and was charged with an irregular payment of Ksh8.5 billion for the project.

Among other individuals who were arrested were Leah Adda Gwiyo, the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, as well as a managing partner at an engineering company.

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