Wetang'ula quizzed over embassy land deal

Thursday October 21 2010

Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang'ula has been put on his defence over irregularities in procurement of Kenya’s missions abroad where tax-payers allegedly lost millions of shillings. October 21, 2010. FILE

Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang'ula has been put on his defence over irregularities in procurement of Kenya’s missions abroad where tax-payers allegedly lost millions of shillings. October 21, 2010. FILE 

By FRED MUKINDA

Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang’ula was forced to skip Mashujaa day celebrations to face anti-corruption officials over the alleged irregular purchase of Kenya’s mission land in Tokyo, Japan.

The minister was interviewed for two hours at the ministry’s headquarters on Harambee Avenue, said Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission spokesman Nicholas Simani.

"Our officers visited the Foreign Affairs office and had an interview with the minister. Other senior officials from the ministry will be meeting our detectives," he said.

Senior ministry officials are also expected to be interviewed at the Commission’s office, starting with Mr Antony Muchiri, the high commissioner to Libya, who served at Foreign Affairs until he was posted abroad.

The envoy was expected at Integrity Centre Thursday.

A report by Parliament’s Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations said Kenya lost more than Sh1.1 billion in the transaction in Tokyo, Japan.

The government further lost Sh84 million in the purchase of a chancery in Brussels, Belgium, the report said.

It recommended that Mr Wetang’ula take political responsibility and step aside to pave the way for investigations by the anti-corruption commission and other relevant arms of government.

It further recommended that Mr Wetang’ula be barred from holding any state office if found guilty by a court of law.

The explosive report was the subject of heated debate in Parliament last Thursday.

Mr Wetangu'la was spared Parliament's wrath when Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim adjourned House business after a dispute emerged over different Order Papers that afternoon. The committee wants “necessary action” taken against the minister, who it accuses of deliberately misleading it on the key facts of the case.

Parliament is expected to debate the report on Thursday afternoon and if adopted Mr Wetangu'la and his permanent secretary Thuita Mwangi will be forced to step aside to facilitate investigations into the transaction.