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Court freezes Sh8.7 million M-Pesa balance belonging to junior Treasury employee

The High Court on Wednesday froze more than Sh8.7 million belonging to a junior employee at the National Treasury suspected to have been stolen from the government in the guise of allowances and facilitation fees after it was found in her M-Pesa account.

The High Court also issued an order freezing four properties belonging to Faith Kiptis pending the conclusion of investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), which believes she acquired the properties from the government through corruption.

“I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds demonstrated to warrant the grant of the orders sought,” said Justice Esther Maina.

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EACC told the court that it was apprehensive that Kiptis might transfer or dispose of the properties in light of the ongoing investigations. The properties include an apartment in Syokimau and plots in Shanzu, Mombasa, and Kilifi.

The court ordered the case to be mentioned on June 13, 2023.

According to EACC, Kiptis was among four Treasury employees who received imprest, facilitation, and extraneous allowance between January 2020 and June this year.

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She allegedly received Sh79.5 million for similar allowances during the same period. She has a balance of Sh8.7 million in her M-Pesa account and another Sh7 million in two bank accounts.

Others include Robert Theuri Murage, Esther Ngeru, and Doris Simiyu, bringing to Sh55 million the total amount preserved by the High Court, pending the conclusion of investigations.

According to the agency, Ms. Ngeru, an internal auditor at the National Treasury earning a salary of Sh188,000, received Sh53 million as imprests, facilitation, and extraneous allowance between January 2020 and June this year.

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The EACC says she has been making withdrawals from her M-Pesa account in batches of Sh100,000 and Sh50,000 and cheque withdrawals leaving a balance of Sh8.5 million.

Ms. Simiyu, an accountant, allegedly received Sh20 million for imprest, facilitation, and extraneous allowance between January 2020 and June this year. She had a balance of Sh8.9 million by the time the freeze order was issued.

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As for Mr. Murage, the EACC says he received Sh24.7 million and withdrew the money leaving a balance of Sh11 million.

The investigator said preliminary findings raised suspicion that considering their salaries, the credits into their bank accounts were disproportionate to the known sources of income. Hence the money could be the proceeds of corruption.

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