GUILTY AS CHARGED FOR FORMER TOURISM LEADERS
Time has finally ran out for the trio of accused, Ms. Rebecca Nabutola, a former Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary, Dr. Achieng Ongonga and one Duncan Muriuki over a case which emerged against them in 2008, when they found themselves in the dock over allegations of unauthorized use of funds and conspiracy to defraud.
Dr. Achieng, erstwhile CEO of the Kenya Tourist Board, was sentenced to three years in jail with an added fine of 1.5 million Kenya Shillings, and failure to pay would add a further 3 years to his sentence. Ms. Nabutola, then Achiengs superior as PS in the line ministry, got four years in jail for her part in the scheme and was given a 2 million Kenya Shillings fine. Duncan Muriuki, the apparent beneficiary of the conspiracy and himself a former KTB member of the board of directors, was in turn given a whopping 7 years in jail and has to repay some 18.3 million Kenya Shillings, the sum in question which was paid out by KTB, when Achieng and Nabutola connived in clear violation of laid down procurement and payment rules and caused the transaction to go ahead.
At the time, the board of directors had not been re-appointed as yet, leaving a gap in supervision which very likely prompted the three convicted individuals to hatch the scheme and exploit the vacuum on the top. Achieng and Nabutola where both suspended when the re-appointed board at the time then immediately blew the whistle on the transaction, rumours of which had swept Kenyas tourism industry triggering a full scale investigation at the time.
When reporting the news back then, and periodically in between as updates of the court case became available, a number of negative comments had to be endured over an alleged agenda by this correspondent, clearly fired off by sympathetic mouthpieces of the accused, and while justice has been served, and seen to be served in this case, it is personally satisfying to see that the projected outcome did happen, the accused were found guilty of all charges and their sycophants now have to bow their heads in shame for suggesting there was anything else to the reporting but sharing the sad facts of the case with a wider regional and global readership. The three convicted individuals do have the option to appeal, so watch this space for further news, as and when.