City Hall official who lives like a king on Sh85,000 pay
Jimmy Kiamba, the chief finance officer for the Nairobi County government, lives too large for his modest monthly salary of Sh85,000.
That is the view of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), which has gone to court seeking orders to freeze the officer’s assets to pave way for further investigations into his vast estate.
The EACC says its pursuit of Mr Kiamba has revealed a massive empire that is incongruent with his known income and wants the High Court to freeze his bank accounts as investigations continue into claims that he stole millions of shillings from City Hall between January and November last year.
“EACC has established suspected fraudulent transactions through accounts held by Mr Kiamba, who is the chief finance officer (CFO) of Nairobi County and whose only known source of income is a gross salary of Sh85,000 per month,” the EACC says, adding that Mr Kiamba’s two bank
accounts with CFC Stanbic Bank were used to transact more than Sh400 million between January and November 2014.
“The uncompleted aspects of the investigations are essential before a decision can be made on whether to institute a suit of recovery against him.”
Mr Kiamba’s estate includes two maisonettes in South C, a plush town house in Kileleshwa, four apartments in Kilimani and eight plots of land in Muthaiga, Mavoko and Machakos. He also owns a fleet of six cars.
The EACC believes Mr Kiamba acquired the property through fraudulent deals using his position as City Hall CFO.
Mr Kiamba has challenged the EACC’s application, insisting that the property is registered to Jimise Limited and his wife, Tracy Mbinya Musau, and charged to Equity Bank for loans that are still being repaid.
He argues that freezing the assets would expose his wife, Jimise and Equity to losses, yet they are not parties to the suit. Mr Kiamba further denies involvement in any corrupt dealings, and says he has cooperated fully with the EACC’s investigators.
The City Hall official has been charged in the Chief Magistrate’s court with defrauding City Hall of millions of shillings.
In April, he was accused alongside his secretary Regina Rotich of conspiring to defraud the county of Sh17.9 million. Both have also been charged with abuse of office.
Mr Kiamba has separately been accused of forging documents for purposes of embezzling funds, and is out on a Sh2 million cash bail.
The EACC says in its application that it fears Mr Kiamba may dispose of the assets if the court doesn’t act against him, but the City Hall official says such action may cause Equity to demand immediate repayment of his loans and cause him immense hardship.
“The properties were charged before the investigations against my accounts commenced. If the orders are granted Equity will require me to settle the balances due to it at once, when I have been settling the debts in reasonable installments from my investments,” Mr Kiamba says.
The anti-corruption watchdog says Mr Kiamba’s accounts had a balance of Sh14.4 million when they were first frozen in November. It has, however, attached bank statements from the two accounts showing massive transfers it says are suspicious.
It is not clear from the court documents when Mr Kiamba had the accounts unfrozen.
The EACC further says the City Hall official’s actual wealth is well beyond the amount he declared in 2007 and 2013 and that only proper investigations could reveal his true worth.
Mr Kiamba, in response, claims that the EACC is playing dirty to ensure his accounts are frozen, as he is yet to be furnished with the court order freezing his property, which has rendered him unable to challenge the decision.
“Since EACC obtained the preservation orders on November 14, it has never served me with the said orders. Under the Anti-Corruption Act, I was entitled to apply for the said orders to be discharged within 15 days of service. I have been unable to do so because the EACC has never served me.”
Mr Kiamba was suspended in April following his suspected involvement in tender awards at City Hall. Last year, he was put on the spot over the loss of Sh94 million awarded in a ghost contract to Hausraum Limited.
Hausraum Ltd was in 2009 identified to provide consultancy services for the establishment of an electronic payment system at an initial contract sum of Sh11.7 million.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko had in a report said that further to the payments to Hausraum, two other companies with the same directors were paid Sh85 million for execution of the ICT contract without any evidence that any work was done.