Two months ago, Kenya’s state prosecutor asked Waiguru to record a statement in a case that began after she requested an investigation into the suspected theft of 791 million shillings ($7.7 million) from the state-run National Youth Service.President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose administration is under scrutiny for corruption, placed five ministers from his 19- member cabinet on forced leave earlier this year after they were accused of graft.The opposition leader, Raila Odinga, had criticised Kenyatta for not asking Waiguru to step aside while her office is probed, as he did the ministers for housing, labour, energy, transport and agriculture.Kenyatta made the fight against graft a priority on taking office in 2013 and has termed in a “moral fight for the very soul of our nation”, promising there would be no sacred cows.But he has been stridently criticised for failing to get a grip on a rampant vice, and Waiguru’s departure could further deepen the sense of a leadership crisis in east Africa’s biggest economy.
Corruption scandal at the National Youth Service took a decidedly political twist yesterday with former Devolution Cabinet Secretary accusing aides and allies of Deputy President William Ruto of witch-hunting.In filings to the courts, Ms Waiguru also disowned Ms Josephine Kabura Irungu, the businesswoman who claimed that she was in essence her business partner, facilitated business with NYS, shared in the spoils and concocted an elaborate cover-up scheme.Ms Waiguru names National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Mr Ruto’s personal assistant Faouk Kibet as politicians who tried to influence the payment of millions of shillings in fishy deals at the NYS. She also places former Devolution Principal Secretary Peter Mang’iti, then NYS Director-General Nelson Githinji and businessman Benson Gethi in the centre of the scam.
She alleges that Mr Duale called and texted NYS deputy DG Aden Harakhe during the investigation into the NYS scandal, reminding him that he needed political support from URP leaders in his region (North Eastern region).Mr Harakhe wrote to her, she claims, informing her of political intimidation on July 10, 2015.“The said memo stated that on June 18, 2015 Mr Aden Harakhe was texted and called by Mr Aden Duale who advised him that he required political support and that leaders from his region came from URP. Mr Duale warned that he needed to be careful lest he is used and dumped by the other side of the coalition (TNA),” she claimed. Ms Waiguru alleges that Mr Murkomen visited her office and that of Mr Mang’iti to push for the unfreezing of accounts of business people involved in the NYS scandal, among them Mr Gethi. She claims the senator also wanted the investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) against his clients stopped.
“During the month of July (2015), Senator Murkomen visited my office and informed me that he represents his clients who were merchants whose funds had been stopped by IFMIS. Senator Murkomen passed the message from his clients stating that I should tell DCI to drop the investigations and said I would face unspecified consequences if I did not adhere to these demands,” she alleged.
The former Devolution CS claims that after her refusal, she faced an impeachment motion crafted by Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter.“I refused to budge and pushed the DCI to conclude investigations. Soon thereafter proceedings for my impeachment by an MP from the URP wing of the Jubilee coalition were commenced and calls for my resignation peaked,” she said in the court papers.
Ms Waiguru also drags Mr Kibet into the scandal, claiming that he was a close business associate of Mr Gethi and was in constant communication with Mr Mang’iti and Dr Githinji. She claims that Mr Kibet received part of Sh791 million. “Another person who was involved with the principal actors in the fraud of Sh791 million were Farouk Kibet, the Personal Assistant to the Deputy President who from DCI report was closely associated with Ben Gethi,” she said. She explained that the two were in constant communication exchanging about 180 phone calls, some lasting for hours.“Reports indicated that there were close relations between Farouk Kibet and Ben Gethi and indeed some of the payments made by Gethi include a payment to Mr Kibet.”
Ms Waiguru claims Mr Mang’iti and Mr Gethi pushed Mr Harakhe to make the payments and on refusal, they threatened him. “Mr Harakhe stated that on June 14, 2015, Eng Peter Mang’iti summoned him to Nakumatt Junction at around 7 pm.Eng Pter Mang’iti was together with a Mr Ben Gethi.Eng Mang’iti and Mr Ben Gethi told him that he had become a stumbling block and if he does not cooperate they would fix him through the DCI or litigation by suppliers,” she said.
Ms Waiguru advances the argument that Ms Kabura was a front of a “powerful cartel” of politicians and ministry officials who were driving the scheme.
“From an analysis of the DCI briefings, in my opinion Ms Josphine Kabura was only just and continues to be a front, to a broader, more powerful cartel with various beneficiaries from the political establishment and the bureaucracy, facilitated by officers from the ministry,” she said.
But she claims that she only came to learn about the allegations levelled against her by Ms Kabura through the media.
NEVER BEEN FRIENDS
She holds she does not know Ms Kabura and that if indeed they had ever been friends, then there would be evidence of communication with her on routine issues even before she (Ms Kabura) started business with NYS.“Ms Kabura has never been to my residence. Indeed the residence she purports to have met with me in August 2015, is a house I had vacated seven months earlier in February 2015 and which has been vacant since without even a single unit of furniture. I have never even been back since I vacated,” she claims.
This differs with Ms Kabura’s affidavit which alleged that she met the former CS at the Runda residence in August 2014 — seven months before the CS claims to have vacated he house — where they worked on the incorporation of the three companies.
Ms Waiguru alleged that facts relied on by Ms Kabura were gathered from sources who know things about her, from media and official data, but not through personal knowledge.
The former CS denied having introduced Ms Kabura to her family members and denies knowing Mr Raphael Ndunda of Family Bank, who Ms Kabura claimed was working under instruction from Ms Waiguru to ensure accounts which received tens of millions of shillings from NYS were operated without a hitch.
She said her interactions with Mr Mutahi Ngunyi, said to be her advisor and beneficiary of some of the funds, were based on the restructuring of the NYS, and that Mr Ngunyi was representing a consulting firm known as The Consulting Firm (TCF) that had been contracted by the ministry.
“I have never met Ms Kabura with any of my officers, Hassan Noor, Adan Harakhe or any other officer as alleged in her affidavit,” Ms Waiguru claimed.Ms Waiguru denied knowing journalist Maina Kamore or ever meeting him in the company of Ms Kabura.She admitted knowing Mr Mwaniki Munuhe in the course of her duties, but not as one of her “media gurus” as alleged by Ms Kabura.
Ms Waiguru insisted that she blocked the payments of Sh695 million which was to be paid to the business people.She said DCI investigations later discovered that Sh791 million had been paid between December 2014 and April 2015 when Dr Githinji was the AIE (Authority to Incur Expenses) holder.