You’ll carry own cross, Ruto warns corrupt officials

Friday, June 2nd, 2023 06:50 | By
President William Ruto
President William Ruto. PHOTO/Courtesy

All public officers facing corruption-related charges in court will have to step aside with immediate effect, President William Ruto has warned.

In what appeared to be a complete departure from what has been the norm, the President said the continued stay in office by individuals facing graft charges has painted the government in bad light.

The directive was issued by Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei on Wednesday during a meeting with chairpersons and chief executives of parastatals and other government agencies at the Kenya Schools of Government.

Through Koskei, the Head of State is said to have told the gathering that the government has decided to weed out all corrupt elements, starting with those who have been implicated in graft.

“It is no longer business as usual. All those implicated in corruption must step aside until their cases are determined. It doesn’t make any sense for one to remain in office while facing graft charges,” Koskei reportedly told the gathering.

Koskei also reportedly issued a directive that chairpersons and board members of parastatals would no longer be allowed to travel outside the country without express authority from his office.

Also, in attendance were heads of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Twalib Mbarak, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Mohamed Amin and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

Several individuals facing corruption-related charges have been appointed to influential government positions, raising questions over President Ruto’s determination to fight graft. Haji, who has been nominated to head the National Intelligence Service (NIS) has come under sharp criticism for allegedly terminating some of the cases facing high profile individuals appointed to government.

But on Wednesday, Koskei said all persons implicated in graft must carry their own crosses and should not expect to be bailed out by anybody.

Minutes after meeting with parastatal heads, Koskei, on behalf of President Ruto, released a list of two nominees for Principal Secretaries that saw Faith Harisson, who had earlier been proposed for Performance Management and Delivery Service docket dropped.

Instead, the President nominated Anne Wang’ombe and proposed Salome Muhia-Beacco as PS for Correctional Services in the Ministry of Interior and National Administration. Harisson has two pending cases in court.

On April 26, 2019, DCI sleuths nabbed Harisson, then serving as the Kiambu Chief Finance Officer with 670 fake US dollars in 100 bills on the car seat and Sh50,000 in her bag.

According to DCI’s Special Crimes Police Unit , the then county officer and her driver Harrison Kungu were seized on Mpaka Road in Parklands on suspicion of having fake vehicle registration numbers.

They were charged at Kibera Law Courts with illegally being in possession of 670 “papers upon which words and figures, letters and lines printed as 100 denomination of dollars of United States of America.”

Same amount

They both denied the charges and Harisson was released on a Sh1 million bond with a surety of the same amount or a Sh200,000 cash bail, while Kung’u was freed on a Sh200,000 bond or a Sh20,000 cash bail as they waited for the hearing and determination of the case.

Similarly, Njeri was also linked to a case in which former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu was accused of receiving more than Sh30 million in kickbacks leading to his ouster.

During his Senate ouster in 2020 for allegedly embezzling Sh588 million, Waititu accused Harrison of being county officers who conducted transactions that landed him in trouble.

President Ruto also received a slap in the face on Wednesday when the High Court granted EACC orders freezing unexplained assets including 19 properties worth over Sh278 million belonging to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) Board chairman Jeremiah Kinyua.

Kinyua is suspected to have amassed the wealth through bribes while he worked at the Kenya Revenue Authority .

 Kinyua was appointed by Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria as chairperson of the National Standards Council, the policy-setting organ for Kebs, which is at the centre of a sugar scandal.

Koskei reportedly told parastatals heads to compile a list of all officers facing corruption- related charges under their docket for immediate action.

Koskei is also said to have instructed the parastatal chiefs to report to him directly Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries who attempted to meddle in the management and operations of their dockets, particularly tenders and employment. “He told us not to allow CSs and PSs to interfere in our operations, particularly in the award of tenders and employment. He was very candid that the President had instructed him to tell us that all parastatals must be run professionally,” one of the chief executives who attended the meeting told People Daily.

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