Ministers face the sack as Uhuru steps up war on graft

Friday February 22 2019

corruption

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. The subsidised fertiliser scam has rocked his ministry. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOHN KAMAU
By JOHN KAMAU
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Several Cabinet secretaries are set to appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, with reports that State House is preparing for a possible purge within the Cabinet.

The Cabinet secretaries will be questioned on multibillion-shilling deals within their ministries involving construction of four dams in the Rift Valley and the subsidised fertiliser programme.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti last evening confirmed that several ministers are set to appear before him for questioning as part of the ongoing investigations into what is being billed as the largest fraud since the Goldenberg scandal.

This follows a warning by President Uhuru Kenyatta to Cabinet secretaries that they were on their own, and that each should carry his or her corruption cross, should the time of reckoning come.

FERTILISER SCAM

Among those to appear before the DCI in regard to the dams scandals are Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui and former Water Principal Secretary Fred Segor.

Mr Kinoti also revealed that Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri will be summoned to shed light on the subsidised fertiliser scandal as part of investigations into a procurement scam that may sink several senior officials in his ministry.

Both Mr Chelugui and Mr Kiunjuri will be summoned to help us unravel the scandals, Mr Kinoti told the Nation.

Also to be questioned on the dams scandal is former National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri.

“We are still compiling the list and there will be more in the days to come. This is a comprehensive exercise and we want to get to the bottom of all these scandals,” Mr Kinoti said.

BALALA

On Monday, Mr Kinoti sent his officers to the home of National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

Reports indicated that Mr Rotich was questioned in connection with the dams scandal. “It is true I sent my officers to him to record a statement,” Mr Kinoti said on Thursday.

He, however, did not reveal who, other than Mr Kiunjuri and Mr Chelugui, are the other two ministers to be questioned.

While about 75 percent of the budget for construction of the dams has been released, there is little on the ground to show how the money has been spent.

According to the Kerio Valley Development Authority, Arror Dam was set to cost Sh38.5 billion while Kimwarer dam in Keiyo South was to cost Sh28 billion.

With the summoning of Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, the number of ministers on the DCI radar stands at four.

STALLED

Mr Balala appeared before Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission investigators for questioning over the award of a Sh100 million contract by his ministry.

He was to appear before the commission’s detectives on Monday but wrote to them requesting a postponement due to official duties.

Of late, President Kenyatta has been growing impatient with incessant corruption within his government, particularly within ministries that are unable to account for billions of shillings every year.

Sources say President Kenyatta has received a report on the Kerio Valley Development Authority, which was to rollout construction of the dams.

The theft could mimic the Turkwel-Gorge scandal of 1986. Investigations have centred on the building of four dams — the Sh40 billion Itare Dam in Nakuru, which has stalled after the Italian contractor pulled out, plus the three Sh80 billion dams in Elgeyo Marakwet: Arror, Embobut and Kimwarer.

PURGE

Yesterday, President Kenyatta met Cabinet secretaries at State House. Sources likened the meeting to “The Last Supper” for some of the CSs. “Names are going to fall,” a source told the Nation.

Four years ago, President Kenyatta dropped five ministers whose ministries had been adversely mentioned in various scandals.

They were Ms Charity Ngilu (Lands), Mr Felix Kosgei (Agriculture), Mr David Chirchir (Energy), Mr Kazungu Kambi (Labour) and Mr Michael Kamau (Transport and Infrastructure).

Our sources also indicated that President Kenyatta has received intelligence reports on several of his ministers, and that up to seven of them are being studied.