What you need to know:
- Those suspended by President Kenyatta are Felix Koskei (Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock), Michael Kamau (Infrastructure and Roads), Kazungu Kambi (Labour) and Davis Chirchir (Energy and Petroleum).
- Most had expressed a determination to hang onto their jobs until Tuesday.
- Land Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, who is said to be on the list, but whom the President could not reach on the phone, was spared temporarily.
- Mr Koskei was accompanied by his daughter Miriam and top officials in the ministry including Permanent Secretary Japheth Ntiba.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday finally suspended four Cabinet secretaries and eight top state officials named in a confidential anti-graft report.
As he pushed the CSs named in the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) List of Shame out of his government, the President named four ministers to act in their positions.
The report also contains the names of elected leaders, including 11 governors, some senators and several members of the National Assembly.
The Sunday Nation established that the President personally called each of the affected ministers and top state officials, including principal secretaries, before the list was released on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier, most of them were in a state of confusion and expressed a determination to hang on until Tuesday when Parliament is expected to make the list public.
Land Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, who is said to be on the list, but whom the President could not reach on the phone, was spared temporarily.
State House sources said the minister’s case would be dealt with after her arrival from an official working trip abroad on Monday.
Those suspended by President Kenyatta are Felix Koskei (Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock), Michael Kamau (Infrastructure and Roads), Kazungu Kambi (Labour) and Davis Chirchir (Energy and Petroleum).
Though State House sources indicated that the four were forced out after demonstrating reluctance to leave office, a statement by the President’s spokesman, Manoah Esipisu, indicated they left voluntarily.
“The following Cabinet secretaries have now informed the President that they have complied with his directive,” Mr Esipisu said at a press conference at State House.
He said the President had instructed Adan Mohamed, the Industrialisation CS, to take over in an acting capacity in the ministry of Agriculture while Health’s James Macharia will be in charge of the Roads and Infrastructure docket.
National Treasury’s Henry Rotich will oversee Energy while Defence’s Raychelle Omamo will take over the Labour docket in Mr Kambi’s absence.
Senior officials and principal secretaries who have been suspended include Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia and Principal Secretaries Mutea Iringo (Defence), Nduva Muli (Transport), Patrick Omutia (Mining) and James Teko (Water).
Other top officials forced to quit are Ms Marianne Kitany (Chief of Staff in the Deputy President’s office), Esther Koimet (Investment Secretary— National Treasury) and Jane Waikenda (Deputy Head of Mission— Kenya Embassy, South Africa).
Of the affected top officials, Mr Chirchir, Mr Kimemia and Ms Kitany played key roles in the President Kibaki succession that finally saw President Kenyatta taking over as the fourth president in a highly competitive poll whose results opposition leader Raila Odinga challenged in court and lost.
After the election, Mr Kimemia led the process of reorganising government by coming up with a new structure that was later approved by the President over and above other crucial roles during the succession.
Ms Kitany was a key strategist who joined the Jubilee team a few months to elections.
Mr Kimemia and Ms Kitany have faced internal resistance from some of the President’s and his deputy’s men invited into government from their campaign teams. It is, however, unclear what corruption claims have been made against them.
Mr Esipisu said the President’s position is that no one will stand between Kenyans and what is right in the fight against corruption.
He instructed boards of state corporations to urgently convene special meetings to pick acting officers in the place of those suspended over graft claims.
Said Mr Esipisu: “In regard to state corporations, the respective state corporation boards have been instructed to urgently convene special board meetings to appoint acting officers for all named chief executives and other officers.”
The listed parastatal chiefs include the chairman of the Agricultural Finance Corporation, Patrick Osero and managing director Geothermal Development Company Dr Silas Simiyu.
Mr Osero is a businessman in the city said to be closely associated with Deputy President William Ruto.
He recently featured in the Lang'ata Road land scandal pitting a primary school against some private land developers before the institution reclaimed a grabbed piece of land.
Others are the Managing Trustee of the National Social Security Fund Richard Langat, chief executive officers Kentrade Alex Kabuga and acting CEO National Water Conservation Board Evans Ngibuini.
Also on the list are Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director Lucy Mbugua, Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director Charles Tanui and the Chief Executive Tourism Fund/Catering Levy Trustees Allan Chenane.
“Clearly the President has drawn the line on corruption and expects all state and public officers to abide by Executive Order No 6 in which he gives express directives in regard to the intolerance for this vice in government,” said Mr Esipisu.
He said the President wanted Kenyans to see the action as a moral fight for the soul of Kenya and that opportunists should not take advantage to engage in negative politics.
'NEVER SEEN' EACC LETTER
Moments before State House spoke, only Mr Koskei had announced his decision to step aside while insisting he was innocent and that he was unaware of the charges against him.
It was while he was addressing the press at his Kilimo House office that State House convened a media briefing to announce the presidential decision.
Said Mr Koskei: “Today, as I stand before you, there are some allegations which touch on my character which have called to question the honour and the dignity of my office as Cabinet Secretary.
“I, Felix Kiptarus Koskei, have today as a honour to the Constitution and the people of Kenya and with humility decided to step aside for a period of 60 days from my duties as the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to allow for free, independent and impartial investigations of the said allegations by the relevant organs.”
Mr Koskei was accompanied by his daughter Miriam and top officials in the ministry including Permanent Secretary Japheth Ntiba.
“I have never seen a letter from the EACC. They have never even called me to record a statement or to make an inquiry into any allegations against me. In fact they have never sent even a WhatsApp message,” he said.
Mr Kambi had earlier expressed innocence, accusing the media of fabricating the allegations against him.
“My name is not in that report. I have been waging war against corruption. I am shocked that there is an attempt to incriminate me,” Mr Kambi said on Friday.
On Saturday, after the President relieved them of their duties, Mr Chirchir and Mr Kamau convened separate press conferences announcing they had stepped aside to give room for investigations.
Speaking at his Transcom House office, Mr Kamau said he was not aware of the nature of the corruption allegations he was facing, but added his ministry was being investigated for “many issues”.
“I will wait for the report to be tabled so that I can know what I am being accused of,” he said, adding that he would cooperate with investigators.
Mr Chirchir announced that he had decided to step aside, citing the Chicken gate scandal where he has been adversely mentioned.
Felix Koskei, Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Development. The President has instructed Adan Mohamed to act in his place.
Michael Kamau, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport. The President has instructed James Macharia to act in his place.
Davis Chirchir, Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum. The President has instructed Henry Rotich to act in his place.
Samuel Kazungu Kambi, Cabinet Secretary for Labour. The President has instructed Raychelle Omamo to act in his place.
Francis Kimemia, Secretary to the Cabinet.
Mutea Iringo, Principal Secretary for Defence.
Nduva Muli, Principal Secretary State Department of Transport.
Patrick Omutia, Principal Secretary for Mining.
James Teko, Principal Secretary State Department of Water.
Marianne Kittany, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy President.
Esther Koimet, the Investment Secretary, National Treasury.
Ambassador Jane Waikenda, Deputy Head of Mission, Kenya Embassy South Africa.
Patrick Osero, Chairman Agricultural Finance Corporation.
Silas Simiyu, Managing Director, Geothermal Development Company.
Richard Langat, Managing Trustee NSSF.
Evans Ngibuini, Acting Chief Executive, National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation.
Alex Kabuga, Chief Executive, Kentrade.
Lucy Mbugua, Managing Director, Kenya Airports Authority.
Charles Tonui, Managing Director, Kenya Pipeline Corporation.
Allan Chenane, Chief Executive, Tourism Fund/Catering Levy Trustee.