Corruption Scandal Rocks City Hall Planning Department, EACC Takes Action

By The Weekly Vision Reporter

Key officers in the Department of Environment and Urban Planning at Nairobi’s City Hall have been summoned by officers at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to face interrogations over alleged bribery. The summon was issued through a letter dated May 14, 2024 (Ref.EACC.6/15/47 VOL X (82)) and signed by Dr. Susan Kinyeki, the Deputy Director of Report and Data Management.

The summons, referencing “Re: Investigation into Bribery Allegation,” was specifically addressed to the County Secretary. The letter reads, “The Commission is investigating bribery allegations where two of your staff members, namely Absalom Peter Ochieng Ayany and Miss Jazzy Kemunto, were featured. In order to finalize our investigations, we kindly request that your office facilitate the named officers to reports to the Integrity Center for interviews and statement recording as per the dates shown against their names.”.

Absalom Peter Ochieng Ayany

The Chief Officer of Urban Development and Planning, Patrick Analo, who is also acting as the County Secretary, is one of the individuals who received the summons. Mr. Analo is slated to meet with EACC officers J. Nyagara and R. Obonyo on May 20, 2024. The other officers are Domnic Mutegi, the Director of Development Management, and Tobias Omboto. The involvement of the last three officers in the bribery allegations is uncertain, as it is not yet confirmed whether Ayany and Kemunto mentioned them upon arrest.

Sources at City Hall told The Weekly Vision that Mr Ayany is a known confidant of Mr Analo and may have invoked Analo’s name during his arrest. Claims of corruption have plagued the planning department at City Hall in the recent past. In a recent operation, the EACC detectives conducted a deliberate raid at City Hall, leading to the apprehension of Mr. Fredrick Ochanda, the Assistant Director for Development and Control. Ochanda was accused of corruption and being involved in fraudulent behaviour. 

Miss Jazzy Kemunto

Mr. Ayany and Kemunto were arrested on April 17, 2024, by officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for soliciting and accepting a bribe. Kemunto holds the position of Sub-County Administrator for Embakasi East, while Ayany is a Compliance and Enforcement Officer at City Hall. 

Their arrests came after a report was lodged with the Commission on April 15, 2024, alleging that the two officers solicited a bribe amounting to Ksh. 300,000 and accepted a portion of it to expedite the complainant’s installation of a container on a road reserve adjacent to the complainant’s property in Embakasi. Investigations confirmed that the two individuals had demanded Ksh. 300,000 as a facilitation fee on March 11th of this year. Following negotiations, they agreed to accept Ksh. 100,000 as an advance payment, which would also entitle the complainant to receive an authorization letter. 

On that very day, the complainant transferred the funds to Mr Ayany through M-Pesa in two separate transactions of Ksh. 51,000 and Ksh. 49,000, respectively. Subsequently, an extra amount of Ksh. 60,000 was also sent to the same officer by the complainant via M-pesa. On March 12, 2024, he received a receipt for Ksh. 40,000. Subsequently, the complainant proceeded to erect a container on the road reserve. However, just a day later, on March 13, Jazzy Kemunto, the Ward Administrator, demanded that the container be removed or an additional Ksh. 140,000 be paid.

The complainant, unable to fulfil their request, had to move the container to a different location. The compliance officer then contacted the complaint the next day, asking for an additional Ksh. 10,000 for the authorization letter. It was at this stage that the complainant began to question the honesty of the two individuals and reported the matter to EACC. It was discovered through investigations that within a mere four-day period, the two City Hall officials managed to defraud the complainant of a sum amounting to Ksh. 160,000, all while making sure that the container was not placed on the road reserve.