Uhuru spares ministers in scandals probe the axe


President Uhuru Kenyatta delivering his State of the Nation Address at Parliament Buildings on April 4, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

President Uhuru Kenyatta has spared public officials, including Cabinet Secretaries under investigation for questionable spending of taxpayers’ money, the sack until they are charged in court as he announced a Sh10 billion fund to heal the wounds of historical grievances.

Mr Kenyatta said in his State of the Nation Address on Thursday that any sackings for corruption would be guided by law, a departure from his 2015 speech when five Cabinet Secretaries, eight principal secretaries and over 170 other public officials were asked to step aside on graft claims. Expectations were high among Kenyans ahead of the address that the President would use the occasion to demonstrate his resolve to deal with corruption, including possible suspension of public officials.

“I must, however, caution that the pursuit of the corrupt will be undertaken strictly within the remits of the law – and not through vigilante justice and pitchfork protest,” Mr Kenyatta said.

“Though media narratives rally our resolve as they should, our actions will not be based on condemnation before one has been heard.”

Dams scandal

His speech came against the backdrop of investigations over a multi-billion shilling scandal involving advance payments for Arror and Kimwarer dams projects. While about 75 per cent of the budget for the construction of the dams or Sh20.5 billion has been released, there is little on the ground to show for the expenditure.

Among those who have already been questioned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over the dams scandal are Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich (Treasury), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture), and Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution).

Simon Chelugui, the water Cabinet Secretary, said he had not been questioned.