Infuriated Ruto unmasks Ministry of Roads untouchable graft queen

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023 01:20 | By
President William Ruto in a past official function. PHOTO/(@StateHouseKenya)/State House/Twitter
President William Ruto in a past official function. PHOTO/(@StateHouseKenya)/State House/Twitter

For the first time, President William Ruto yesterday spoke of the existence of a powerful cartel in the civil service that controls government transfers and remains untouchable in their operations.

Without mentioning names, President Ruto singled out a powerful former female official at the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) who had for years dictated her position and work station.

“For those who have been engaged in corruption incorrigibly, for instance, people in procurement must know their days are numbered. There was a lady working in one of the Ministry of Roads departments who was corrupt to the core, to the extent that she could not be transferred by anybody,” Ruto observed.
The President disclosed that even the CS could not touch the woman because if he dared, she would rush to court and allegedly buy the court process to be reinstated.

“That is the kind of chronic corruption in government that we need to wipe out. I hope Mr Kipchumba Murkomen (Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary) and Mr Joseph Mungai Mbugwa (Principal Secretary, Roads), that lady no longer work for the government of Kenya,” a visibly agitated President Ruto said.

In what appeared to be a shocking revelation, the Head of State said such officers have turned government offices into their private offices.

As if to drive his point home, the President stated: “We are not going to wait until public money is lost, the moment there are signs that you have intentions of doing something … we will deal with you firmly and summarily. We have many people who can do these jobs.”

Though the President did not mention anyone’s name, memories of the saga of Margaret Muthui, who came into the limelight in 2019 when she successfully petitioned the court to reverse her deployment from her plum job at KeRRA comes to mind.

Muthui, then a senior procurement officer, moved to court to appeal her redeployment to the office of Performance Management and Coordination under the Presidency.

According to Muthui, she was being moved to an office where she had no expertise and the main reason for her removal was after she questioned a tender, which she felt had been overpriced by Sh1 billion.
She argued that in her opinion, questioning the award caused a lot of problems after which she received communication from the Transport PS asking her to provide a full report on the tender and options that would cure the anomalies and allow the tender to proceed.

In a judgment in February 2019, Justice Hellen Wasilwa halted her transfer, saying the ministry had no business directing KeRRA to deploy her to there.
Muthui was back in court in January 2021 after she was transferred for the second time and Employment and Labour Relations Judge Maureen Onyango, suspended the decision, pending the determination of her case. Curiously, KeRRA board had not met to ratify her transfer back to KeRRA. She was forcibly kicked out by KeRRA orderlies.

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