Balala, Gwiyo freed on Sh1mn bail ahead of mention on Thursday » Capital News

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 22 — Former Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has been freed on a Sh1 million cash bail with a Sh5 million bond alternative in an abuse of office case.

The Public Prosecutor presented Balala before a Malindi court on Friday following his arrest Thursday night over his decision to engage private consultants against a Cabinet decision.

The court freed former Tourism Principal Secretary Leah Gwiyo, charged alongside Balala, on similar terms setting a mention on Thursday, December 28.

EACC said the two committed Sh3.4 billion for consultancy services in 2010 at the initial stages of the construction of Utalii College, Kilifi campus.

A Malindi court, set to rule heard that Balala and his co-accused jointly used their offices to improperly confer a benefit to private consultants against a Cabinet decision on December 13, 2010.

Private consultants at the center of the scandal include; Baseline architects Ltd, Ujenzi Consultants, Armitech Consulting Engineering and West consult Consulting Engineers.

EACC detectives arrested Balala and Gwiyo alongside Joseph Odero, an engineer from West Consult Engineers.

Flawed procurement

EACC Spokesperson Eric Ngumbi said the agency flew Balala to Mombasa and before taking him to Malindi by road.

Also lined up for prosecution are officials from the Procurement and Finance departments.

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Balala and his accomplices face up to 10 charges related to irregular payment of Sh8.5 billion from the Tourism Fund to put up the Coast branch of the Kenya Utalii College later renamed Ronald Ngala Utalii College.

EACC said investigations established that there were numerous procurement fraud that shot up the approved cost of putting up the college from Sh1.95 billion to 10.4 billion.

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