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Officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission have arrested Nyandarua Sub-County Administrator Joseph Kamau Gathenge over allegations of soliciting bribes from two bar owners in the county.

With revellers trooping to entertainment joints during the festive season, the administrator reportedly embarked on a mission to cash in, seizing keg cylinders, keg pumps and beer from the traders.

He afterwards demanded a bribe of Sh40,000 from them as a condition to release the impounded consignment to allow the businessmen to operate.

EACC got wind of his scheme and laid an elaborate trap for the administrator on December 23, 2023.

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Gathenge was arrested while allegedly receiving a bribe from the bar owners with a promise of releasing the consignment that his team had confiscated.

“The two traders refused to succumb to the bribe demand and instead reported the matter to the EACC Central Regional Office in Nyeri which apprehended the suspect while receiving the money,” EACC noted in a statement.

He was whisked to Ndaragua Police Station with investigation for processing and arraignment in court.

Reporting cases to EACC

The anti-graft agency cautioned corrupt state officials that their days are numbered, noting that extortion cases targeting businesses are on the rise as business owners gear up for the festivities.

“The official is one of the enforcement officers taking advantage of the ongoing festive season to extort money from operators of entertainment joints under the pretext of enforcing regulatory compliance,” EACC added.

Members of the public with cases to report may reach the commission for immediate action through toll-free line 1551.

Cases of state officers walking into traps laid by EACC operatives have been on the rise as the authority cracks the whip on rogue officers.

In July this year, the Head of Liquor Licensing in Githunguri Sub-County, Kiambu County, Mercy Wambui made it to the list after demanding a bribe of Sh40,000 from a bar owner, threatening to revoke the liquor license if the bribe was not paid.

“On 28 June 2023, Kiambu County Enforcement Officers, including the suspect, went to her bar business premises and found her employees stocking beverages and undertaking stock-taking for the day. The liquor licensing officials accused the complainant of opening and operating a bar before the stipulated time. They, thus, confiscated the complainant’s goods and went away with them.

“The complainant did a follow-up with the officials at their office whereby the suspect demanded a bribe of Ksh40,000/= to absolve the complainant of the alleged offence and return the impounded goods.” EACC noted.

She was arrested after successful investigations which found her at fault.

 

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