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County official nabbed over Sh40,000 bribe suspended

A senior Kiambu County official arrested by officials attached to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) while asking for a Sh40,000 bribe has been suspended.

Ms Mercy Wambui, who was serving as the head of Liquor Licensing in Githunguri Sub-County, was suspended by Governor Kimani Wamatangi.

Ms Wambui was amongst the key supporters of Governor Wamatangi in the 2022 General Elections and she is a resident of Gatundu South.

“Any officer demanding a bribe in order to offer services to the people or issue licenses to bars will not have space in this administration. This also applies to any official who will demand money from contractors and suppliers in order to award tenders,” Mr Wamatangi said while issuing fertilisers to Coffee farmers in Ndumberi within Kiambu County.

EACC is planning to prosecute Ms Wambui in court on Monday, July 17, 2023.

“Investigations carried out by EACC reveal that she impounded goods belonging to the complainant, a bar business operator within Kiambu County and she demanded for a Sh40,000 bribe to return the same,” EACC read in part.

Ms Wambui threatened to revoke the complainant’s license and stop her from operating the bar business if the demand was not given.

EACC said that it was also investigating similar cases that have been rising within Kiambu County.

“The Commission receives numerous complaints of this nature regarding liquor licensing officials within Kiambu County.

Ms Wambui led a team of Kiambu County Enforcement Officers to the bar and found employees busy undertaking stock-taking for the day.

The team then accused the employees of opening and operating a bar before the stipulated time. They then confiscated the complainant’s goods, which they carried with them.

Also read: Power play: How EACC nabbed Kenya Power staff for soliciting Sh15,000 bribe

“The complainant did a follow-up with the officials at their office whereby the suspect demanded a bribe of Sh40,000 in order to absolve the complainant of the alleged offense and return the impounded goods,” the statement further read.

On July 4, 2023, the complainant made another follow-up on the matter but was not assisted. Instead, the officer allegedly threatened her and demanded a bribe.

The matter was then reported to the EACC on July 11, 2023, which investigated and verified the bribe demand.

“The suspect was arrested the following day while receiving the bribe from the complainant. She was escorted to Integrity Centre Police Station where she was processed and later released on Sh40,000 police bail pending court appearance,” EACC said.

In the recent past, following orders from Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on crackdowns targeting liquor stores, the country has seen an upsurge in cases where county officials have been arrested demanding bribes.

Also read: Kenyans love being bribed – EACC Report