Former Information and Communication Technology Principal Secretary Bitange Ndemo was yesterday vetted by a parliamentary committee for an appointment as Kenya’s ambassador to Belgium.
While appearing before the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee of the National Assembly that is vetting President Kenyatta nominees for appointment to various missions abroad, Dr Ndemo was questioned over a Sh179 million corruption case involving the Malili Ranch, of which he was cleared by the High Court, and which he termed yesterday as “a complete abuse of office” by the prosecutorial agencies.
“The Malili case was a complete abuse of office by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The High Court dismissed the case in my favour because I was not involved in it,” Dr Ndemo told the committee. Documents seen by the Nation confirm that indeed the case against him was thrown out by the High Court in 2016.
Dr Ndemo started his career as a financial systems analyst and later moved to the University of Nairobi as a tutorial fellow. He progressed in his lecturing career to become a senior lecturer, the chairman economics department, and associate professor. He is currently a professor of entrepreneurship at the university.
Yesterday, Gilgil MP Martha Wangare agreed that the court case was the only blot in Dr Ndemo’s impressive resume. Also vetted were Ms Mary Mugwanja (Austria), Mr Clement Kiteme (Angola), Ms Mary Gichohi (China), Mr Gathoga Chege (Cuba), A.G Matiiri (Egypt) and Amb Salim Salim (Djibouti). Dr Caroline Karugu (Denmark) was expected to be vetted yesterday but requested to be allowed to appear today.
Read: Johnson Muthama and Bitange Ndemo charged over Malili land
Ms Mugwanja, the Nyandarua County Transport, Energy and Public Works Executive, pledged to enhance Kenya’s relations with Austria and ensure that the balance of trade between the two countries favours Kenya.
Ms Mugwanja, who has a net worth of Sh70 million, was first appointed in the county government in November 2017 as the Finance and Economic Development exexecutive.
Documents presented to the committee show that it was during her tenure in the finance docket that Nyandarua was ranked the best by the World Bank in management of the Kenya Devolution Support Programme funds in 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in leadership and management and certificate in leadership and management both from Strathmore University.
She also has a Diploma in Secretarial Duties from Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology.
Mr Kiteme’s lack of grasp in Portuguese and French, the main spoken languages in Angola, was his undoing. He however, promised to enroll for a crash course.
He is worth Sh100 million and holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute and a Bachelor of Education (arts) in Political Science from the University of Nairobi.
He also has a diploma in National Security from Galilee International Management Institute, Israel. National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai is among the nominees who will be vetted this morning.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story has been edited for accuracy and completeness to include the fact that the case against Prof Bitange Ndemo over the Malili Ranch saga was dismissed by the High Court of Kenya in October 2016.