The Director General of Kenya Wildlife Service is walking on thin ice after being implicated in a damning audit report that highlighted massive corruption at the state agency, we can reliably reveal today.
Investigations by our reporters show that the only reason Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has not stepped in to reconstitute the lethargic KWS board is because the well-connected DG Brigadier (Rtd) John Waweru is a direct appointee of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The rot at KWS is so deep that State House instituted secret audit which has exposed poor leadership, costly inefficiencies and capture of board by a section of management led DG Waweru and his loyal henchmen such Edwin Wanyonyi who is the Deputy Director Strategy & Change, HOD Procurement Mr Wambua and HOD- Roads Mr Eng Walter Ochieng.
Leveraging KWS’s centralised procurement system the Waweru’s cartel have hijacked the operations of the KWS Tender Evaluation Committee which openly demands a ten percent standard kickback from vendors who seek business from the wealthy state corporation that turns-over approximately Sh8 billion per annum.
The four senior staff have been linked to corrupt dealings at KWS through phone and bank records as well as an intricate investigation into their social circles.
Additionally, KWS receives substantial cash injection from the Kenya Roads Board for maintenance of roads within national parks and game reserves. In the current financial year KWS received Sh700 million from KRB.
Waweru micromanages Road Maintenance Tenders with Engineer Ochieng who has developed a list of preferred contractors and suppliers most of whom the audit revealed are proxy companies they have shares in through relatives and associates. The tenders are sub-divided and evenly distributed to the preferred suppliers.
The DG Waweru who also acts as Corporation Secretary at Board level often blackmail Board members using the name of the President has placed figureheads in all the main three board committees of finance, conservation and audit rendering all internal controls his tools of manipulation.
In one controversial incident, Waweru managed to persuade the Board sanction the contract to build a new luxury residence inside the serene Nairobi National Park for himself as the Director General at the cost of Sh31 million.
Interestingly this particular tender was awarded to a waste collection company suspected to be linked to the DG by proxy and one that has no experience in construction of buildings nor architecture nor design.
According to KWS sources that worked with the secret audit team; Waweru, Wanyonyi, Wambua and Ochieng have now been placed under the radar of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and could soon be hauled to court to face charges of abuse of office and corruption.
According to the audit, Waweru’s poor leadership and ineffective management at KWS coupled excessive corrupt dealings will bring down the KWS in less than five years if he is not curtailed.
Even worse are an open secret that he has relationships with various women at KWS including the Head of Legal and Head of Security.
The state of affairs at KWS is said to be so bad that disenchanted staff have resorted to colluding with poachers thereby undermining wildlife conservation with is a core mandate of the KWS.