Puzzle of prison cleaner who is worth Sh257 million

Eric Kipkurui Mutai has 7 cars worth Sh32 million but his monthly salary is sh20,000

A file image of high end cars in a parking lot

The high court has ordered the freezing of assets of Eric Kipkurui Mutai, a cleaning supervisor at the State Department for Correctional Services over links to embezzlement of Sh257 million.

Lady Justice Esther Maina ordered Mutai to surrender seven cars valued at Sh32 million to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission for seizing.

The freezing orders shall subsist for a period of six months to allow EACC complete investigations into the allegations of fraud and embezzlement of public funds, and to file a formal application for recovery of the public resources,” read the High Court ruling.

A Sh17.5 million house in Nairobi, two plots of property in Nyaribari Chache in Kisii County valued at Sh25 million, and another piece of land in Kericho valued at Sh17 million are among the frozen assets.

The anti-corruption office told the court that between 2012 and 2016, the cleaning supervisor, who was paid Sh20,800 per month, registered seven businesses and exploited them to embezzle taxpayers' money under the pretence of delivering food.

Mutai collaborated with several top prisons officers to have his firms receive Sh257 million without supplying anything, according to the commission's counsel Diana Kenduiwa.

His companies were the conduits for embezzling the Sh257 million through fictitious contracts for supply of food and ration to the State Department of Correctional Services when the goods were never supplied,” the lawyer argued in court.

Mutai purported to have supplied food and ration to seven prison facilities in Nairobi, but our investigations established no such goods were ever supplied. We discovered that his companies were registered between 2016 and 2017 for the sole purpose of receiving the funds,” Dorothy Mnjala, a forensic investigator added.

She claimed the suspect withdrew the money hurriedly and used his proxies to purchase properties around the country.

The prosecutions also argued that Mutai's known sources of income don't match his properties and net worth.

In 2020, the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling on the recovery of unexplained assests.

The Supreme Court ruled that any asset held by a public officer and is not proportional to his legitimate source of income will be considered to have been acquired through corruption.

The case is scheduled to come up on October 25.

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