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Why Former Tourism CS Najib Balala Has Been Arrested

Balala speaks

File image of Former Tourism CS Najib Balala

Former Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala was on Friday, December 22 arrested by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives.

Balala who served under retired President Uhuru Kenyatta is being accused of irregularly using Ksh 8.5 billion from the Tourism Fund to set up the Coast branch of Kenya Utalii College in Kilifi County.

“The commission has been taking operation and this is after EACC received the concurrent from the Director of Public Prosecution to apprehend and arraign before the court the suspects in this Utalii case. This is a case where the suspects are alleged to have engaged in procurement fraud for the construction of Utalli College, Coast Branch,” EACC spokesperson Eric Gumbi stated.

Gumbi also revealed that Balala was arrested alongside Leah Adda Gwiyo, the former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, and Joseph Odero of West Consult Engineers.

The three will be flown to Mombasa from Nairobi and later driven to a Malindi court where they will arraigned.

“They will be flown to Malindi to face charges there after the prosecution approved our recommendations,” Ngumbi stated.

The suspects are facing ten counts of corruption and economic crimes, including procurement fraud and misappropriation of Sh8.5 billion of public funds.

According to EACC, the tender for the construction of the Kenya Utalii College’s coast branch, later renamed Ronald Ngala Utalii College, was awarded in May 2013 for Sh8.9 billion, compared to the approved cabinet amount of Sh1.948 billion.

As of December 2022, the institution was 77.74 percent, according to the Tourism Fund website. It is expected to graduate 3,000 students on campus every year when completed.

Also Read: Little Known Details of Najib Balala’s Powerful Family that Spread Across 4 Countries

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