President Uhuru and Ruto long meeting that led to disclosure of graft probe list
Kenya: Details have emerged of a close to five-hour meeting at State House between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto, where an agreement was reached to disclose to Parliament the list of State officers under probe for corruption.
Sources from State House disclosed that the two held a lengthy meeting to discuss the best approach to take in revealing the contents of the confidential report handed to the President by Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Halake Waqo.
The bold move to disclose names of those listed as being under investigation was a culmination of several meetings held between the President and his deputy in the recent weeks in a bid to curb official corruption.
It was during the Thursday morning meeting, before the two headed to Parliament for the State of the Nation address, that they agreed to annex the list of over 170 State officers under investigation to the report that Mr Kenyatta was to table before Parliament.
No one, not even the five Cabinet secretaries named in the list, was informed of his/her name being in the confidential EACC report or even the decision to disclose the list to Parliament.
“The Deputy President joined the Head of State at State House and for several hours, they were in a closed door meeting. We suspect the issue on discussion was the list and how to make it public. The meeting took place just before the two separately headed to Parliament for the State of the Nation address,” revealed the source at State House.
Senior Director of Public Communications at State House, Munyori Buku, confirmed the Thursday meeting, but said it was not unusual for the two to hold such a lengthy meeting.
“The DP was in State House and together with His Excellency they had a lengthy meeting. It is not anything new for the two to hold such meetings,” said Munyori.
State House’s Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) revealed that while the President had gone through his speech together with a number of his close allies in State House, he later retreated together with Ruto where they discussed at length the disclosure of the list.
“The President went through the speech together with a number of people including the DP, the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, his private secretary and also PS Monicah Juma, but thereafter they went with the Deputy President into another closed meeting,” revealed PSCU Director Dennis Itumbi.
Itumbi said the Presidency has been discussing how to tackle corruption, which has greatly tainted the Government, and dismissed allegations that Mr Ruto was kept in the dark.
Days before the move by the President on Thursday, Ruto was quoted saying that the war against corruption would be enhanced, and that no one would be spared.
It is such statements that indicate that the Deputy President has been part and parcel of the strategy.
“The DP has been consistently clear that no one, including those in the Office of the President, Cabinet or parastatals would be spared in the war against corruption,” Itumbi said.
He explained that it was the strategy to accelerate the fight against graft that made the President to ask the EACC to furnish him with its report on the status of corruption investigations on State officers.
The manner in which the information was sourced has attracted criticism from the CORD coalition.
But both State House and Jubilee leaders faulted the Opposition, saying the move by the President and EACC had constitutional backing.