CSs in scandal-hit ministries should step aside, says Sonko

Wednesday June 13 2018

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. He has said that CSs in scandal-hit ministries should step aside. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DAVID MWERE
More by this Author
By STEPHEN MUNYIRI
More by this Author

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is not known for mincing his words. And he times his statements for maximum  effect.

On the day the Nairobi County Assembly rejected his controversial nomination of Mr Miguna Miguna as his deputy, for instance,  Mr Sonko asked Cabinet secretaries whose ministries have been  implicated in corruption to step aside.

Then he left friend and foe wondering about  his stand in the war on corruption by lambasting the Judiciary for denying the suspects bail.

“Let me state that I wholly support the President in his fight against corruption, but my basic understanding of the law is that everyone is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. In 2010, we passed a Constitution that guarantees the rights of everyone and we should not, therefore, break the same law in the name of fighting corruption “ Mr Sonko said during a funeral in Nyeri.

STEP ASIDE

But it is by asking CSs to step aside pending investigations, making him  the topmost person in the Jubilee administration  to do so,  that Mr Sonko  has surprised many. Among the Cabinet Secretaries whose ministries have been implicated in recent corruption are Ms Sicily Kariuki (NYS), Mwangi Kiunjuri (NCPB) and Charles Keter (Kenya Power, Kenya Pipeline and Ketraco).  

Mr Sonko said corruption should not be fought “selectively” and asked CSs whose ministries have been implicated in past and present scandals to step aside until they are cleared.

“I know  that, because there is currently no opposition in the county, people  are afraid of speaking the truth. I was not born a  coward and will, therefore, speak the truth,” he said.

SCANDALS

Earlier in the day, word had come from Parliament that Cabinet secretaries Margaret Kobia (Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs) and Ms Kariuki (Health) had not appear before the Public Accounts Committee for the second time to answer questions relating to the scandals in their ministries.

According to letters sent to the National Assembly Clerk dated June 11 and delivered just before the PAC session, Ms Kariuki was in the US on official duty and is expected to return on Saturday.

Meanwhile Prof Kobia had written to the committee requesting that her session be rescheduled.

“The newly appointed accounting officer is away on official duty and she needs time to study the report to enable meaningful engagement with the committee,” she said.

GRANTED BAIL

On June 19, High Court Judge Hedwig Ong’udi will rule on whether the 46 suspects in the Sh9 billion scandal at the NYS should be granted bail.

On Tuesday, the prosecution argued that the suspects would interfere with witnesses. But the defence disagreed,  saying that  no compelling reason had been given for  denying the suspects bail, which is their  constitutional right. They have been in remand since they were charged  on May 29.