Loopholes that led to housing scandal
Posted Saturday, July 7 2012 at 23:30
- Documents reveal case of seven-year-old girl who allegedly wrote a signed letter requesting a house which was offered
Senior government officials at the Housing ministry sharply differed over a move to suspend top officials of a state corporation at the centre of a controversial allocation of houses.
A new document prepared by the Kenya National Audit Office (Kenao) raised questions as to why Housing assistant minister Margaret Wanjiru and Permanent Secretary Tirop Kosgey were split over the plan to suspend senior officials at the National Housing Corporation (NHC).
The officials were company secretary Elizabeth Mbugua, senior legal officer William Keitany and senior estates officer Lilian Muinde.
Mr Tirop wanted the three officials suspended in the face of two reports of the Board Audit Committee (BAC) that claimed there had been impropriety in the allocation of houses in various schemes at the corporation.
The Auditor General’s office, in a letter dated June 22, states that Mr Tirop wrote to the corporation’s managing director James Ruitha asking that the three be suspended over the allocations scandal.
But soon after Mr Tirop’s letter went out, Ms Wanjiru wrote to the PS stating that “no such action (of suspension) was agreed and therefore no officer should be sent on compulsory leave”.
Kenao which moved in to conduct its own investigations said the officers were still in office.
“This indicates that even the parent ministry is not reading from the same script,” the Kenao document said.
“Such action further gives doubts as to the credibility of the BAC report, and board meeting resolutions on the said report.”
According to the document, there had been many loose ends in the BAC reports that made it unreliable.
“We found the report not reliable and we have proposed to use it as a guide while we carry out our own independent investigations (audit) on this matter,” said the report signed by Mr P.G. Gichuki for the auditor general.
The audit office becomes the latest government agency to introduce another twist to the house allocations exercise at the corporation, by also trashing BAC reports arguing they had many loopholes.
Two weeks ago, the Inspectorate of State Corporations pointed out that senior government officials including three permanent secretaries and Ms Wanjiru had been allocated houses by the corporation.
They included Dr Mohammed Isahakia (PS, office of the Prime Minister), Ms Dorothy Angote (Lands PS) and Ms Mary Ngari (Medical Services PS).
Former State House Comptroller Hyslop Ipu was also allocated a house.
The audit also discovered that present and former members of the NHC board allocated themselves as many as five housing units.
But the report said the prevailing house allocation policies had loopholes that were exploited leading to multiple allocations.
But another report by the Efficiency Monitoring Unit (EMU) in the Prime Minister’s office ruled that Ms Wanjiru and Ms Angote were regularly allocated their houses.