MPs to quiz ministers on media debt scandal - Daily Nation
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MPs to quiz ministers on media debt scandal

Monday November 12 2018

Joe Mucheru

Information Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and his National Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich will be probed by a parliamentary committee on Tuesday over the loss of Sh2.5 billion at the Government Advertising Agency (GAA). PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DAVID MWERE
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Cabinet secretaries Joe Mucheru (ICT) and Henry Rotich (National Treasury) will be questioned by MPs Tuesday, November 13, 2018 over the Sh2.5 billion loss at the Government Advertising Agency (GAA).

Mr Mucheru will be the first to appear before the National Assembly Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation on the scandal that has since seen Lugari MP Ayub Savula, former Broadcasting and Telecommunications PS Sammy Itemere and former GAA boss Dennis Chebitwey charged in court over the theft of Sh122.3 million.

COMMITING FELONY

The three are also facing charges of conspiracy to commit a felony, abuse of office, obtaining money by false pretences, making a document without authority and aiding the commission of a felony jointly with 23 others.

On Sunday, Marakwet West MP William Kisang, who chairs the committee which has oversight of the ICT ministry, said that Mr Mucheru must tell the lawmakers how the money got lost and why media houses have not been paid despite rendering services to the government.

MISAPPROPRIATED

Nation Media Group is owed about Sh1 billion with Standard Group being owed around Sh700 million.

“We have summoned the CSs and we hope that they will come so that Kenyans know what is happening at the advertising agency. It is sickening to hear every other day that public funds are either misappropriated or looted,” Mr Kisang said.

IRREGULAR PAYMENTS

According to the MP, the committee is also expected to interrogate principal secretaries Fatuma Mohamed (Broadcasting and Telecommunications) and Kamau Thuge (National Treasury) as well as Mr Itemere.

Also to appear is a top manager at a media organisation, who is said to have registered a dummy outfit that benefited from the irregular payments.

DUMMY FIRMS

Mr Savula and his two wives are directors of M/s the Sunday Publishers ltd, Melsav company Ltd, Johnnewton Communications, the Express Media Group, Cross Continents Ventures Ltd and Shieldlock Ltd that benefited from the irregular payments.

Dummy firms were registered with names similar or close to those of existing media houses.