Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Corruption Rears its Head

On the heels of the Transparency International report on Kenya released last week, events at the Nairobi Water Council and Egerton University shows that corruption can’t be swept under the rug – the costs are staggering, and are just a symptom of the leakage in government resources.

More than Sh1.1 billion a month has been lost by the Nairobi City Council due to illegal connections alone, and half the water supplied in the capital was either through illegal connections or water not billed, it is alleged.

And at Egerton University, a suspect in a Sh500 million fraud opened 12 bank accounts to stash away money, in the names of the suspect’s 12 children. In June this year an employee of the bank became suspicious about transactions in the 12 accounts and wrote to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC). The banker questioned payments to the accounts but got no answers from either the university or KACC.

Last October, the employees intercepted a computer payroll diskette, which was being taken to a local bank and discovered that some workers earned "unusually high salaries." The detectives were also investigating a suspected payroll manipulation scam involving 600 "ghost workers." They claim that dead employees and those who had either resigned or transferred were still earning salaries. Some junior employees at the university are allegedly earning salaries equivalent to that of an associate professor.

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