Former Tourism CS Najib Balala Arrested


Former Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala was on Friday arrested by detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. 

The CS who served under former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration is being held over graft charges.

Balala is being charged over an irregular payment of Ksh8.5 billion meant for the construction of Utalii College in Kilifi County.

EACC Spokesperson Eric Ngumbi confirmed to Kenyans.co.ke that the former CS was picked up in Nairobi on Thursday evening and spent the night at Kilimani Police Station.

Former Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala during a visit to Maasai Mara.

Photo

Najib Balala

He is set to be flown to Malindi today where he is expected to take a plea at Malindi Law Courts.

“We arrested him yesterday and he spent the night at Kilimani. He is being transported to Malindi. He will be charged before Malindi Courts,” Ngumbi stated.

Balala was arrested alongside three other individuals namely Leah Adda Gwiyo, the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, as well as a managing partner at an engineering company.

“Investigations were undertaken by the commission regarding the irregular payment of Ksh8.5B by the Tourism Fund out of which KSh4 billion was paid to Baseline Architects Ltd for consultancy services for the proposed Ronald Ngala Utalii College in Vipingo, Kilifi county,” Ngumbi told media outlets.

According to the Tourism Fund website, the institution was 77.74 per cent as of December 2022. It is expected to graduate 3,000 students on campus every year when completed.

Former Interior PS Karanja Kibicho earlier revealed that the institution had been during the reign of the late President Daniel Arap Moi and approved during President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.

The construction of the project, however, fully took effect under the Jubilee administration after Uhuru assumed office.

Balala and the co-accused are facing more than 10 charges related to the project.

A collage image of a building of the Ronald Ngala Utalii College (Left) and an impression of the college in Kilifi County.

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