What you need to know:
- "I was a whistleblower," Devolution CS says in TV interview.
The embattled Devolution and National Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru has ruled out stepping aside over the National Youth Service scandal.
Speaking on Citizen TV on Tuesday night, Ms Waiguru said people do not step aside because they have been told to step aside on the street.
“How can they ask me to step aside when I blew the whistle? I’m the one who called CID,” said the CS, adding that just because an organisation has been touched by corruption doesn’t mean that its head must resign.
She added that all state organs and private companies have in one way or the other been touched by corruption allegations.
Asked why she has not fired people who are suspected to have been involved in corruption at the NYS, Ms Waiguru replied that she does not have power to sack them.
“Those individuals are under investigation, and I would not like to comment on those issues. Once the investigation is complete we will share the report with the Public Service Commission for action,” she said.
The CS also denied allegations that she was being given any kind of special treatment by President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying that just like other Cabinet secretary she consults with the president on a daily basis.
Ms Waiguru also denied claims that she is a "super Cabinet Secretary"; that is, the most powerful CS in government.
She also rejected allegations that she is arrogant and pushy.
“In my line of work, one is bound to rub some people the wrong way. This is often the cause of these allegations,” said Ms Waiguru.
She said that the interim CID report had indicated that Sh133 million was cleared, and the payment went through because they were legitimate payments.
Ms Waiguru added that a forensic audit is underway as the CID officers had carried away the computers and they will conduct a cybercrime investigation.
“For you to find out who stole the password, you must conduct a forensic audit to establish who used the computers,” insisted Ms Waiguru.
She said that the matter was referred to the CID and not the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission because it was a cybercrime issue but could still be handled by the EACC once investigations are complete.
Ms Waiguru also insisted that prices of items at NYS were not inflated, saying that it is the same way prices of goods may vary from supermarket to supermarket.
“Some things are cheaper than market rates and some are more expensive, but nothing close to 100 per cent as has been alleged in the media,” said Ms Waiguru.
Responding to allegations on improper procurement, the CS said that it is within the law for the Ministry to carry out procurement, adding that she has no influence over the ministerial tendering committee as it is an independent committee.
Ms Waiguru said that several government departments normally outsource some services that they do not have capacity to carry out in-house, insisting that the Sh46 million for consultancy was not paid for a single day activity.
She also explained there is no bias in the recruitment of NYS personnel, saying that each constituency across the country was given 30 slots.
The Cabinet Secretary said some constituencies in northeastern Kenya had fewer recruits because youth did not turn up for the recruitment exercise.
Ms Waiguru also denied Opposition allegations that the NYS was now a militia, calling the claims untrue and saying the government was just offering employment and imparting values to the youth.
“NYS is not a militia. … We do not have other intention other than the noble,” said Ms Waiguru.
The Cabinet Secretary maintained that the letter to the Central Bank had nothing to do with the Sh 700million, instead saying it was only seeking clarification for a payment that was being made to another company that she did not name.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has called for her suspension to pave way for investigations.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keriako Tobiko, has since asked the head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Ndegwa Muhoro, to give him the files and findings on the hacking of the government financial system.
On her working relations with Maryanne Keitany, the suspended Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy President, the CS said they are colleagues and have been part of the Jubilee government since its formation.
Ms Waiguru said that she was not aware if Ms Keitany was involved in a plan to impeach her.
The CS also made it clear that she has no political ambitions, saying she is a technocrat and happy in that role.