Grand Coalition looting like there is no tomorrow

Barely a week after President Mwai Kibaki appointed a commission to probe into the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel, it is now emerging that a number of cabinet
ministers from both PNU and ODM and top government officials involved in corrupt deals may soon be kicked out.

After last week's resignation of Finance minister Amos Kimunya to facilitate investigations; cameras are now trained to Raila ally, Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang' over claims that was he compromised to approve work permits for a foreign blacksmith and a salesman against the advice of senior immigration officials.

Lobbying among opposition and cabinet ministers to bring to the House a motion that would lead to a vote of no confidence in the minister is in top gear and may come soon after Kimunya's. At a press conference last week, Kajwang fought back and denied having broken the law although immigration department officials are still equivocal that the Minister did indeed flout the law.

What is raising eyebrows, however, is the fact that there were more than enough Kenyans with the skills and that it was not necessary to allow foreigners to do the same jobs in Kenya. He is also accused of having given permits to members of a controversial church and foreigners with questionable educational and ecumenical backgrounds. By late last week,word had it state agents were digging into Kajwang's bank accounts which has accumulated millions of shillings within the few months he has been at Immigration. Remember the minister was once declared bankrupt.

Although considered a very close ally to Prime Minister Raila Odinga, it is alleged that Kajwang's short stint at the ministry has been dogged by corrupt deals which sources say the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission is currently investigating. Yet other sources close to the minister maintain that he has been set up squarely to balance the onslaught on PNU's Kimunya.

According to these sources, senior officials at the Immigration department who are not comfortable with Kajwang's style paid off a section of the media to blow the case out of proportion.

But last week, Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo who also doubles as ODM Chief Whip was categorical that Kajwang' should not lobby for party support when the no-confidence vote is brought to the House and warned him to be prepared to carry his own cross if found guilty.

Internal Security Assistant minister Orwa Ojode is said to be angling to take over Kajwang's job should the axe fall on him. Ojode's confidantes reported that he is keeping his fingers crossed to be elevated to a full cabinet minister just in case Kajwang' steps aside. Ojode still believes the seat that went to Kajwang' was rightfully his.

Another top ODM minister allegedly involved in corrupt deals and may soon face the same knife that was used against Kimunya is National Heritage minister William Ole Ntimama. It is alleged that Ntimama fraudulently obtained a parcel of land meant to settle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Investigation reveals that Ntimama is among the many politicians who received a piece of land at the Moi Ndabi settlement scheme in Naivasha. The land had been set aside to resettle people
after clashes broke out in Enoosupukia in Narok North constituency. Ntimama was allegedly allocated parcel of land number 1250 measuring 82 acres.

Also mentioned in the same land scandal is Livestock minister Mohammed Kuti of PNU who got 18 acres. Naivasha MP John Mututho has written to Lands minister James Orengo to cancel the allocation and to ensure legal action is taken. It is not yet known whether he intends to bring censure motion against the two ministers but if he does, the two may as well be on their way out.

After the exit of Kimunya from the treasury, the focus now turns on Central Bank of Kenya Governor Prof. Njuguna Ndung'u and the bank's head of legal affairs Kennedy Abuga. The two have been named in the commission's terms of reference work. Ndung'u was appointed CBK governor on 4th March 2007.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga last week accused Ndung'u of incompetence after a cabinet sub-committee he appointed recommended that Ndung'u should step aside. Raila told parliament that Ndung'u called him on 23rd April asking for a meeting which was held the same day in the evening. According to Raila, Ndung'u presented to him an eight page, unedited, unsigned, typed document which purported to give the role played in the sale of the hotel.

It is alleged that Raila has been using his elder brother, assistant minister Dr Oburu Odinga and some CBK employees who leak out sensitive information at CBK and Treasury which Raila uses to finish them. Political pundits say when the grand coalition cabinet was formed, Kibaki played into Raila's hands when he agreed to name Raila's own brother as an assistant minister who plays the role of a spy at the Treasury.

The Cabinet sub-committee had in their investigations found out that it was Ndung'u and Central Bank that made an offer to sell the property and determined its price and that there were no written records of the offer and acceptance.

Although Ndung'u's appointment to CBK was as a result of direct lobbying by Kimunya, sources say Ndung'u and Kibaki knew each other well much earlier. What remains to, be seen is whether Kibaki will let go another old ally to allow independent investigations as was the case with immediate former Governor Dr Andrew Mulei. Mulei was accused of improper handling of a consultancy tender and that he had influenced the awarding of a contract to his son, Sila.

Should Ndung'u be forced or voluntarily agree to step aside to allow investigations, then he will go into the annals of history as the CBK governor who had the shortest stint. He was appointed in March 2007. The post of Central Bank governor has been used in the past by successive presidents to dip fingers in state coffers.

The Grand Regency saga seems to have sucked in the head of public service and secretary to the cabinet Francis Muthaura. Muthaura is said to have instructed officers working under him to release the hotel's title deed despite protests from the Ministry of lands.

Another scandal that is haunting both Kimunya and Ndung'u is the controversial Shs.20b state loan. Last week, Nambale MP Chris Okemo who is also the chairman of the parliamentary committee on finance, trade and industry shocked parliament when he claimed that Kimunya and Ndung'u undertook the Sh.20b loan. Of great concern are claims that the Sh.20b cheque written by Central Bank did not reach the National Bank.

But sources close to Ndung'u claim that the NBK loan issue is being used by his detractors interested in his job to pin him. By the time of going to press, we could not establish whether Ndung'u had responded to allegations that Attorney general Amos Wako had warned him against guaranteeing loans to individuals and private companies.

Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno is also a minister under siege. The minister was last week at pains trying to explain to those who cared to listen, the circumstances under which his son was named the MD of Green Fuels Ltd. The company is also associated with Kimunya and the late Alex Mureithi. It is now emerging that investigations are underway to unearth the controversial tender in which Green Fuels Ltd, a private company, was given 60,000 hectares to plant jathropa (used to make bio fuel) on TARDA land.

Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula may also find himself trapped between a rock and a hard place. His involvement in the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel remains a nightmare for him. Although he claims to be clean in the whole saga, it is said that while an assistant minister in the same ministry, he was part of the team present where the hotel sale deal was sealed.

It is alleged that Wetangula is a partner in the law firm (Wetangula, Adan Makhoha & Company Advocates) that acted for the Libyan firm that bought the hotel.

Another procurement, that is sending shock waves within the country is a Sh 5 billion contract of the installation of state of art communication system. The system is will monitor mobile and landline calls countrywide.

Communication industry players say, the proposal to get-up a telephone system (TS) and a calling line identification system (CLIs) will mean that internet communication will be monitored by the force.

Contrary to laid down procedures, the tender for the anti-crime system tender was advertised in February when the country was experiencing riots. It is imperative to note, such multi-billion contracts need international advertisement with bidders being given a period of three months to show interest. To the contrary, the advertisement was placed in local papers with bidders given only two weeks to express interest.

Sources say, a group of powerful individuals out to make a kill have influenced the award of the tender. They were fronting for Chinese Company. The same group of wheeler dealers were laughing all the way to the bank by January this year when the government procured a multi-billion shillings tender for guns and tear gas from another Chinese firm. It is suspected, principal players in the infamous Anglo Leasing scandal are back in business through back doors fronting the Chinese firms in securing security related tenders.

The Shs 5 billion police anti-crime system is expected to be in operation countrywide within eight months. Internal security minister is Prof. George Saitoti who is well known to the Kamanis who sold the police force the controversial Mahindra vehicles during the Moi regime and were adversely mentioned in the Anglo Leasing scam that saw them flee the country.

Kamanis are currently holed up in India and shuttle often to Dubai. They run a hotel in Goa India that recently hosted a wedding party of a member of an influential Kenya businessman of Asian origin. We have information, just like in 2003 when the crooks capitalized on President Mwai Kibaki's ill health to factor in the Anglo Leasing scam, this time they are using the post election crisis that has hit both local and international headlines to make a kill.

While fronting for the Shs 5 billion anti-crime system, those with vested interests had in the proposal, point at its ability to forestall acts of hooliganism and blatant impunity such as those witnessed after the announcement of December 27 presidential election results.

Already, the Treasury and Central Bank have paid the Chinese firm for guns supplied early in the year without following the procurement procedures required. The payment for Shs 5 billion police communication system has already been processed for payment.

The current fight over who to run the Internal Security Ministry has to do with the controversial procurement and others in the pipeline.

As if this were not enough scams for one government, the Roads Ministry and the Finance Ministry have secretly been facilitating payments of pending bills running into billions. It is worthy noting, part of the pending bills are false claims by various notorious road contractors who perfected the art during the Moi regime.

Top on the list is Kirinyaga Construction Company owned by legislator Ephraim Maina. Maina was controversially paid over Shs 200 million in pending bills. Other road construction companies being paid by the Treasury dubiously at the expense of the common man are Feroze Construction which was associated with judge Vizra. It was operated by one Engineer Ali who was a close associate of Gideon Moi. He recently died in Dubai in mysterious circumstances.
Put Sarajevo, Zakhem a Lebanese company, Crescent, Kibuito and Kurdan Singh are also involved in the pending bills saga.

But perhaps, the most controversial road project is the one that will see Treasury pay for work that has been scaled down.

A Chinese company which was awarded the contract of expansion of Uhuru Highway to put additional lines to ease traffic jams has scaled down the work. The project involved construction of interchanges, fly-overs, box culverts, standard pipe culverts and other drainage works.

Road construction experts are worried the Chinese firm which was fronted by an aide of president Kibaki will be paid for the full amount yet it has scaled down the project amounting to Shs 2.1 billion. The move is aimed hoodwinking Kenyans the project is being implemented fully when in the sense it has been cut down by Shs 2.1 billion.

Treasury has paid over Shs 150 million to a close confidant of president Kibaki for the construction of the VP's residence.The project is 14 months late although the initial budget for the process was put at Shs 50 million in the 2004/05 budget. Come the 2006/07 budget, the project was allocated a further Shs 83 million to add to Shs 133 million.

The construction firm in the V-P residence is Dimken owned by Dick Githaiga a long time Democratic Party operative from Thika. The project has now a budgetary allocation of Shs 197 million with 85 percent already having been paid by the Treasury. However, the work on the 12-acre land which started on January 25, 2006 and was to take 52 weeks is far from over. The government has been extending the deadlines frequently. The question is why Githaiga has been paid 85 percent when the work done is only 45 percent.

Apart from the construction of the VP palace, Dimken is also involved in refurbishing State Houses and Lodges across the country at figures which has not been made public. Dimken has won contracts with city council to rehabilitate a number of roads including Langata Road.

Another controversial project being used to mint money from the Treasury is the modernization of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). It was awarded to a Chinese firm China WUYI. Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director is George Muhoho, a founding member of DP and a man said to be close to the president to an extent, Kibaki at least calls him on his mobile number at least three times a day.

From the initial tender, the amount has been inflated to Shs 2.1 billion.

Experts say, the work at JKIA has a lot of question marks and no serious visible work has been done despite payments being made. Muhoho is an uncle to local government minister Uhuru Kenyatta and is the one who pushed for his appointment to the ministry by Kibaki in January. He is backing Uhuru to succeed Kibaki as the succession war shapes up.

Another project being speeded by Kibaki men to loot Treasury is the expansion and deepening of the Mombasa Port. The Treasury has earmarked Shs 550 million to finance the deepening of the port better known as dregdging during 2008/09 fiscal year although experts say the whole project can cost half of the amount.

Kibaki men who have invested in the project and are pushing for certain firms want bid winners announced in the next few days before a new cabinet is named. Award of the tender will give way for the completion of the Shs 4 billion project to be done in two years.

State House operatives with a section of Kenya Port Authority Engineers had in mind a Belgium firm Jan Denul that was said to have secured Euros 8 million ($11.75 million) from the home government to finance the project.

State House operatives are said to have awarded KPA management a kick-back to facilitate the Belgium deal.

However, another camp surrounding the president are said to have cried foul calling for competitive bidding. Firms being fronted by various factions at State House to win the lucrative contract which has entered the final lap include Dredging International of Belgium, Boskalis and Vonorb both of Holland.

The evaluation bids are complete and the tender is open to companies from Belgium and Holland. It is worthy to note, Belgium and Dutch governments will finance 65 percent of the Sh4 billion project with the Treasury and Kimunya taking the balance of 35 percent. Documents we have reveal, Japan Port Consultants, a Japanese firm was involved in the hydrological survey for the port expansion. It is expected to deepen Mombasa channel by about 15 metres and widen its turning basin to accommodate bigger ships. It will also expand its height and draft.

During the Moi regime, the dredging monopoly was in the hands of Asian wheeler dealer Anura Pereira. The privatization of the port of Mombasa and the impending development of new port bar in Malindi and Lamu are part of the schemes being worked on to loot the treasury.

At the ministry of energy, the game is the same. Kenya Power and Lighting Company has a large budget to spend in 4 years to develop more power lines. The PS Energy Patrick Nyoike has put pressure on managers to buy poles to a tune of Shs 1.5 billion.

The move comes after the government officially said it will not renew contracts awarded to Canadian expatriates who were to help turn around the firm to profit making. At their stay for two years at the company, the experts are said to have encountered problems with the PS and Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi.

PS Nyoike who is over 55 years is fronting for a group of suppliers "at KPLC in under deals involving billions of shillings. They are mainly from Mt. Kenya region. Energy Ministry together with Finance, Defence, and Security are controlled by people from one region. At Kengen, the MD Eddy Njoroge is spending Shs 56 billion in what is termed further project. Njoroge is a cousin to Joe B. Wanjui the Chancellor Nairobi University and a constant friend and business associate of president Kibaki.

Shady dealings, are taking place at KenGen. During the political crisis period, Njoroge and his sidekicks at KenGen advertised the second phase their stay for two years at the company, the experts are said to have encountered problems with the PS and Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi.

PS Nyoike who is over 55 years is fronting for a group of suppliers "at KPLC in under deals involving billions of shillings. They are mainly from Mt. Kenya region. Energy Ministry together with Finance, Defence, and Security are controlled by people from one region. At Kengen, the MD Eddy Njoroge is spending Shs 56 billion in what is termed further project. Njoroge is a cousin to Joe B. Wanjui the Chancellor Nairobi University and a constant friend and business associate of president-Kibaki.

Shady dealings, are taking place at KenGen. During the political crisis period, Njoroge and his sidekicks at KenGen advertised the second phase construction of Sondu Miriu project. A Japanese Company fearing chaos in the country requested the tender process to be postponed until further notice.

Njoroge is said to be fronting for the Iranian firm while the Indian company which also tendered is being fronted by president Kibaki's son David and Lee Nyachae. Lee Nyachae is a son of Simeon Nyachae a former Energy Minister. Lee's mother is from Central Province. Another scam Njoroge is linked to at KenGen involves the generation of geo-thermal power is Suswa Rift Valley.

A survey done in Kenya shows, Geothermal potential areas located in Rift Valley are estimated at 2000 MW. The exploited potential stands at 128MW. Aware of the potential in Rift Valley, PS Nyoike together with Njoroge have secretly worked on a plan where certain parts in the area with Geothermal have been allocated to Canadian firms. It is feared the firms may be off-shore companies incorporated by Kibaki men.

It is estimated, it costs $ 5 million to dig one well for Geothermal power over a period of four years. In the study, up to 18 such wells are required to reduce the short fall thus costing a cool $ 90 million that is Shs 6.1 billion. It remains unclear why KPLC recently announced it would hike the cost of power after increased tariffs to an already over-burdened population even with so many other sources of power. The same thing has happened to water generation whose cost will also sky rocket.

Njoroge and his men are eyeing the Shs 6.1 billion project which will be funded by the Treasury. Further looting is reportedly being done through importation of sugar by government allied men based at Mombasa. They have the protection of a political activist. Mat International proprietors are well known in the dirty sugar importation.

Muthaura's name is being linked to the controversial frequencies that were allocated to private television station K24. It is said late last year , the head of civil service directed permanent secretary information and communications Bitange Ndemo to have frequencies owned by state corporation KBC given to K24.

The aim was to help President Kibaki campaign team sell his policies to the voters. In any event, when one is too start a TV station, the normal procedure is to apply to Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK). The frequency spectrum manager then handles the matter.

In K24 case, the station did not apply to CCK and evaded paying. The question is, what basis was KBC frequencies allocated to K24 and why did Muthaura dictate to the PS and the KBC Managing Director.

Insiders say the bottom line was to have KBC and K24 split the revenue collected from advertisement. Our investigations reveal, K24 is owned by Rose Kimotho, Mary M'mukindia, George Muhoho and tycoon Peter Kanyago. M'mukindia was formerly Managing Director National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK)and was Party of National Unity (PNU) media coordinator in the last general elections.

Using KBC frequencies, K24 has been able to make profits running to millions of shillings. K24 is also associated with Kameme FM.

Further, Muthaura has been accused of influencing top parastatals and government ministers to advertise with Ogilvy and Mather which the daughter is a silent director and MD Kiome Mwambia is his brother-in-law. The advertising firm is also in charge of Vision 2030 which they got without tendering.

Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi is also expected to face a stormy parliament over the sale of Kenya Oil Refinery valued at Shs.650 million to Essar of India, National Optic Fibre with Kibaki allied company Tran century being linked to at a cost of Shs 3.9 billion. Foreign firms involved in fibre deals are Sagem, Huawei and ZTE both from China is engulfed in trouble. The matter has been raised in parliament by Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba.

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One Response to Grand Coalition looting like there is no tomorrow

mwaura.E said...

it is unfair that a third-world country can afford to be extravagant and have misplaced priorities at the expense of the tax payers.