Uhuru, Raila in war of words on NYS graft claims

What you need to know:

  • State House also said that the alleged irregular payments and questionable transactions involving Sh826 million were stopped after Ms Waiguru intervened.
  • In a direct criticism of the President, the ODM leader said the presidency was neither an investigative agency nor could it speak for the Central Bank or the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
  • In March, the President suspended CSs Michael Kamau (Roads and Infrastructure), Kazungu Kambi (Labour), Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Charity Ngilu (Lands, Urban Planning and Housing) and Davis Chirchir (Energy and Petroleum).

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday defended Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, saying she was not under investigation in connection with corruption allegations against the National Youth Service.

The President’s spokesman, Mr Manoah Esipisu, said State House would not require Ms Waiguru to step aside, despite pressure from the Opposition.

State House also said that the alleged irregular payments and questionable transactions involving Sh826 million were stopped after Ms Waiguru intervened.

He was reacting to sentiments by Cord leader Raila Odinga, who, earlier this week, challenged the President to suspend the CS and revoke the title deed for the land on which a hotel associated with the Deputy President stands. Mr Odinga said such action would prove that the President was serious about fighting corruption.

And yesterday, Mr Odinga, accused the government of embarking “on a concerted and ill-informed effort to mislead the public”.

“What is in question is the very shady, murky and extremely unethical procurement procedures at the Ministry of Devolution’s NYS projects where beans, dengu, sugar, rice and milk, among other things, are being supplied at exaggerated prices by shadowy companies, some of which are linked to senior officials in government, under questionable procurement procedures,” the ODM leader said in a statement emailed to media houses.

He said the President “has no authority to declare an end to investigations or no investigations whatsoever where the public has reason to believe investigations ought to go on.

MURKY BUSINESS

“Unless the President is party to the murky business going on at the NYS, he must keep off this scandal and allow thorough and independent audit.”

In a direct criticism of the President, the ODM leader said the presidency was neither an investigative agency nor could it speak for the Central Bank or the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

“We strongly object to the existence of two sets of laws governing the war on corruption where some suspects get presidential cover while others are left on their own,” Mr Odinga said. “Covering up for the corrupt can never qualify as transformative change.”

At State House, however, Mr Esipisu said that the investigations on the NYS had been twisted to meet certain political ends.

“It is for these reason that we need to put the record straight in the spirit of “Uwazi” (transparency),” he told a press conference at State House, Nairobi.

Mr Esipisu also said that the Central Bank of Kenya was not investigating the CS.

“Anne Waiguru is not under investigations by the police, by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission or the Central Bank. As such, there is no reason to ask her to step aside,” he said.

Ms Waiguru is currently in Colombia to receive a public service award on behalf of the government.

Mr Esipisu said the NYS case could not be compared to that of five other Cabinet secretaries who were asked to step aside after they were mentioned in various scandals in a report tabled by the President in the National Assembly.

In March, the President suspended CSs Michael Kamau (Roads and Infrastructure), Kazungu Kambi (Labour), Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Charity Ngilu (Lands, Urban Planning and Housing) and Davis Chirchir (Energy and Petroleum).

Mrs Ngilu and Mr Kamau have been charged with various offences, including abuse of office in Mr Kamau’s case and interfering with investigations in Mrs Ngilu’s case.

Yesterday, Mr Esipisu also said that a clarification as to whether the Central Bank was investigating the NYS had been sought by the African Development Bank, whose client, Bora Global, is involved with the NYS.

He said that on June 19, a progress report from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations was dispatched to Ms Waiguru.

“Subsequently, the Cabinet secretary for Devolution and Planning wrote to the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department, CID, asking for speedy investigations into this illegality,” said Mr Esipisu.

He said a forensic analysis report by the Cyber Crime Unit was awaited so that those behind the fraud could be dealt with.

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