Why Former Tourism CS Najib Balala is Under Police Custody

Najib Balala, the former cabinet secretary for tourism, was taken into custody on Friday by investigators from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The CS is being detained on allegations of graft. The CS was part of the Uhuru Kenyatta administration.

Balala faces allegations regarding an erroneous Ksh8.5 billion payment intended for the establishment of Utalii College in Kilifi County.

According to EACC Spokesperson Eric Ngumbi, the former CS was picked up in Nairobi on Thursday evening and spent the night at Kilimani Police Station.

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.

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