The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in Kenya has unveiled an extensive scam relating to the compensation of fishermen affected by the construction of Lamu port. Out of 4,734 people listed for compensation by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), 569 were identified as fraudulent “ghost fishermen”, potentially benefiting irregularly from Sh137,5354. Simultaneously, 433 legitimate fishermen were wrongly excluded from this compensation plan.
The EACC paused the compensation earlier in the year due to fraud allegations. After collaborating with Beach Management Units (BMUs) and other key stakeholders, the fraudulent beneficiaries, originally documented by KPA and Lamu County government, were identified. Eric Ngumbi, EACC’s head of communication, stated that genuine fishermen will receive their due compensation once the court validates the revised list.
Additionally, the court had directed KPA to compensate the fishermen with over Sh1.7 billion due to their income loss from the Lamu port’s construction, impacting their customary fishing grounds. Furthermore, Ngumbi mentioned that EACC is chasing influential figures in Mombasa County for illicitly acquiring public land, valued at Sh4.2 billion, belonging to notable state bodies like Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and Kenya Wildlife Service. Land worth Sh300 million has been recouped from four companies, pertaining to Kisite Island Marine Reserve, which will be restored to KWS.
On a broader scale, EACC is making efforts to recover assets worth nearly Sh40 billion. At the county level, investigations are underway against 21 ex and present governors over potential financial misappropriations and misuse of authority. Several counties have reportedly neglected to submit Sh80 billion in statutory deductions, posing a challenge for future pension payouts. Furthermore, some governors are implicated in endorsing “ghost workers”, inserting illegitimate names into payrolls.
Concludingly, EACC chairman David Oginde commented on the widespread nature of corruption across the counties and shared that the commission has evaluated corruption risks in 27 counties, aiming to bolster anti-corruption measures.