Former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru was Wednesday accused of trying to destabilise the Jubilee coalition as two MPs called for the resignation of politicians linked to the Sh791 million National Youth Service scandal.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen accused Ms Waiguru of putting up side shows to redirect attention away from her alleged role in the NYS scandal.
This came as a businesswoman at the centre of the NYS scam, Ms Josephine Kabura, expressed shock at the former CS’s claims that they neither met nor knew each other.
Wednesday, MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) and Oscar Sudi (Kapsaret) and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) called for Mr Murkomen and Mr Duale’s resignation.
Mr Duale and Mr Murkomen, who defended Ms Waiguru when the scandal broke out last year, accused the former CS of seeking to paint the URP wing of the Jubilee coalition as corrupt.
WAR ON WAIGURU
Mr Duale, at a press briefing at Parliament, vowed to start an all-out campaign to ensure the former CS’s assets were frozen and seized, to “recover the millions stolen.”
“I am taking a sabbatical from attacking Cord, the Kericho and Malindi by-election campaigns to deal with Ms Waiguru who has touched a live wire. She is looking for anyone as a shield. She needs good lawyers and prayers and not human shields,” asserted the Garissa Township MP.
Ms Waiguru had claimed in her affidavit that he sent a text message to former NYS deputy Director-General Aden Harakhe warning him that “he needed to be careful lest he is used and dumped by the other side of the coalition (TNA)”.
Mr Duale claimed there was no “iota of evidence” that he benefited from the fraud and warned civil servants not to be misled by corrupt individuals.
Mr Duale, a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto, questioned why those mentioned in Ms Waiguru’s affidavit, among them DP’s personal assistant Farouk Kibet and himself, were from URP.
He hit at the former CS, describing her as “small person” who was no longer a member of the Jubilee coalition and had no authority to speak on its behalf.
“She is a small person, we gave her a job, we sacked her and now she is trying to divert attention thinking those implicated will go scot free. We want to tell her it does not matter which community she comes from, or friends she has in high places. If anyone steals public funds they will be held accountable,” he said.
Ms Waiguru has protested her innocence, has not been charged with nor convicted of, any offence.
Mr Duale claimed that Ms Kabura’s affidavit had illustrated Ms Waiguru’s role in the loss of the NYS millions, and had given chronological evidence involving the former CS’s relatives, and how funds were carried in briefcases at basements of buildings.
“She should explain allegations that her relatives, including her sister, collected millions of shillings in basements of buildings. She lived in a small house in Runda before her Cabinet appointment, can she explain how she acquired the Kitusuru house?” he posed.
MURKOMEN ALLEGED THREATS
Separately, Mr Murkomen denied claims that he threatened Ms Waiguru after she launched investigations into the National Youth Service scandal and explained the reason he visited her office.
“At no time did I threaten, intimidate or harass any public officer or civil servant. I am also not aware of any police report that has been filed to indicate that I threatened anyone in the course of executing their duties,” he said.
The Senate Deputy Majority Leader said he knew Mr Ben Gethi, one of the business people facing charges over the scandal, after he sought help from a law firm, Sing’oei, Murkomen and Sigei Advocates, after his accounts were frozen.
The senator is a partner in the law firm.
“At the material time stated on the affidavit, Ben Gethi approached the Law Firm of Singoei, Murkomen and Sigei Advocates for representation during the formative stages of the NYS investigations and in due course he moved on to other law firms,” he said.
The senator said attention should be on the affidavit by Ms Kabura instead of what Ms Waiguru said.
“The questions raised by Ms Josephine Kabura are immense, weighty and require straight and honest answers,” he said.
The twist in the saga heightened after Ms Kabura, who was disowned by the former CS, expressed her shock at the turn of events and maintained that she met Ms Waiguru on several occasions in restaurants and at Family Bank KTDA Building.
In her statement to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission when she was interviewed on Tuesday, she said she went to Ms Waiguru’s House number 29 in Runda Evergreen and met her, her three sons and a driver she only identified as ‘Ainea’.
“I confirm that in August 2014 she invited me to her house and asked me to go with my ID card and my Pin and told me that we would be doing business,” she said in the statement.
She also told EACC detectives that Ms Waiguru handed her a Nokia mobile phone that they would use for communications.
“She specified that I should only switch on the phone from 7am to 9am and 7pm to 9pm and she called during that specified period and we conducted several transactions,” she said.
Her lawyer, Dennis Mosota, said his client did not contradict herself and accused the former CS of failing to address issues raised in Ms Kabura’s affidavit.
“Ms Waiguru has not addressed the issues my client raised. Instead, she keeps dragging more people into the picture,” he said.
Separately, Mr Keter, Mr Sudi and Cotu’s Francis Atwoli called for the resignation of Mr Duale and Mr Murkomen.
“When I moved an impeachment motion against Ms Waiguru, I was accused of fighting Jubilee. It now appears following the affidavit (Waigiru’s) that my accusers were defending the loot and not the government,” said Mr Keter.
“They should resign. EACC and the CID should also not sweep the issues raised by Ms Waiguru under the carpet. The two institutions should thoroughly investigate them and prosecute all those found culpable,” Mr Atwoli said by phone from Algiers, Algeria where he is attending an international labour conference.
Mr Sudi accused Mr Duale and Mr Murkomen of applying pressure on him to withdraw his signature in support of an impeachment motion against Ms Waiguru.
Reports by John Njagi, Jeremiah Kiplang'at and Stella Cherono