Detectives grill Waiguru on NYS scandal

waigurupxDevolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru was on Tuesday questioned by anti-corruption detectives over the loss of hundreds of millions of shillings in dubious procurement deals at her ministry.

Ms Waiguru arrived at the EACC offices in Nairobi at noon and spent seven hours being questioned over the loss of Sh791 million from the National Youth Service (NYS), which falls under her ministry.

Crowds of her supporters started gathering outside Integrity Centre, the headquarters of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), in the morning.

Her lawyer, Mr Ahmednassir Abdullahi, arrived at EACC about 30 minutes before the CS who has been in the spotlight in recent weeks in the wake of corruption allegations in her ministry.

POLITICAL SUPPORT

Among the politicians who showed up at Integrity Centre to show solidarity with Ms Waiguru were MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South, TNA), Steve Kariuki (Mathare, ODM) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete, JAP). Former Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru was also at the EACC offices.

Last evening, Mr Abdullahi said that Ms Waiguru will “at best be a witness” in the case.

Speaking to journalists soon after emerging from the eight-hour session, Mr Abdullahi said the CS had nothing to do with the alleged corruption at the NYS.

“We would like to emphasise that the Cabinet Secretary is neither a suspect nor an accused person, at best she will be a witness in this matter,” said the lawyer.

He said the grilling session was “a very fruitful discussion, we had a meeting of the mind and we were almost reading from the same page on the issues”.

Mr Abdullahi said the due process of the law should be allowed to take place and asked politicians to stop turning the issue into an ethnic or political discussion.

He said Ms Waiguru had been “traumatised” by the process.

Outside Integrity Centre, Ms Waiguru’s supporters were chanting despite the rains, protesting her innocence.

On Twitter, Kenyans accused the government of diverting attention from the Waiguru case by arresting a Nation journalist, Mr John Ngirachu. Many of those who demanded a crackdown against graft also called for Mr Ngirachu’s release.

IMPEACHMENT PROCESS

In the National Assembly, Speaker Justin Muturi said he was yet to receive a Motion seeking to impeach Ms Waiguru.

He told journalists that he was yet to see the Motion sponsored by Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter.

The Motion, however, must  abide by the guidelines he issued to Mr Keter last month when it is presented.

The Motion will be considered in line with the direction by the courts on the threshold for gross violation of the Constitution, which is one of the basis on which an impeachment Motion can be initiated.

“In that ruling, I made it clear that the Legislature is required to go by the constitutional interpretation given by the courts,” said Mr Muturi.

After he got the letter telling him about the withdrawal of signatures, Mr Keter argued that the new rules would not apply to his Motion since it was initiated before Mr Muturi issued the guidelines.

Last week, Mr Keter said the number of MPs who had appended their signatures to back his Motion had increased to 131 after 40 MPs signed up after revelations of possibly inflated expenses at the Devolution Ministry.

INFLATED EXPENSES

Last week, a report presented to the Public Accounts Committee indicated that the ministry had paid exorbitant prices for a TV screen, condom dispensers, pens, anti-virus software and other goods whose value was grossly overstated.

On Monday, however, Devolution Permanent Secretary Peter Mangiti said the report was erroneous.

“An internal investigation has been launched to establish whether the errors contained in the report I presented to the Public Accounts Committee were as a result of something unlawful,” the PS told a press conference in Nairobi, during which he disowned the report.

Standing Orders require that the Speaker decide on an impeachment Motion within three days. He can reject it outright or order it shortened or redrafted.

“Whether it’s a normal Motion or a special Motion, it goes to the Clerk, the member is even at liberty to seek the legal department of Parliament, the clerk will make his observations and formally forward it to me. If it meets the threshold as I directed, then I would have to allow the member to give notice on the floor of the House,” said Mr Muturi yesterday.

The Speaker said he doesn’t have a position on the matter.

“It doesn’t matter what I actually believe. It does not count for anything on the floor of the House.” he said.

-nation.co.ke

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