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Uhuru suspends cabinet secretaries over graft report

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday suspended four Cabinet Secretaries and eight top state officials named in a confidential anti-graft report.

As he pushed the CSs named in the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) List of Shame out of his government, the President named four ministers to act in their positions.

The report also contains the names of elected leaders, including 11 governors, some senators and several members of the National Assembly.

Reports have been established that the President personally called each of the affected ministers and top state officials, including principal secretaries, before the list was released on Saturday afternoon.

Earlier, most of them were in a state of confusion and expressed a determination to hang on until Tuesday when Parliament is expected to make the list public.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, who is said to be on the list, but whom the President could not reach on the phone, was spared temporarily.

State House sources said the minister’s case would be dealt with after her arrival from an official working trip abroad on Monday.

SUSPENDED CABINET SECRETARIES

Those suspended by President Kenyatta are Mr Felix Koskei (Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock), Mr Michael Kamau (Infrastructure and Roads), Mr Kazungu Kambi (Labour) and Mr Davis Chirchir (Energy and Petroleum).

Though State House sources indicated that the four were forced out after demonstrating reluctance to leave office, a statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr Manoah Esipisu, indicated they left voluntarily.

“The following cabinet secretaries have now informed the President that they have complied with his directive,” Mr Esipisu said at a press conference at State House.

He said the President had instructed Mr Adan Mohamed, the Industrialisation CS, to take over in an acting capacity in the ministry of Agriculture while Health’s James Macharia will be in charge of the Roads and Infrastructure docket.

National Treasury’s Henry Rotich will oversee Energy while Defence’s Raychelle Omamo will take over the Labour docket in Mr Kambi’s absence.

Senior officials and principal secretaries who have been suspended include Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia and Principal Secretaries  Mutea Iringo (Defence), Nduva Muli (Transport), Patrick Omutia (Mining) and James Teko (Water).

Other top officials forced to quit are Ms Marianne Kitany (Chief of Staff in the Deputy President’s office), Ms Esther Koimet (Investment Secretary-National Treasury) and Ms Jane Waikenda (Deputy Head of Mission-Kenya Embassy, South Africa).

Of the affected top officials, Mr Chirchir, Mr Kimemia and Ms Kitany played key roles in the President Kibaki succession that finally saw President Kenyatta taking over as the fouth president in a highly competitive poll whose results opposition leader Raila Odinga challenged in court and lost.

PRESIDENT’S POSITION

Mr Esipisu said the President’s position is that no one will stand between Kenyans and what is right in the fight against corruption.

He instructed boards of state corporations to urgently convene special meetings to pick acting officers in the place of those suspended over graft claims.

Said Mr Esipisu: “In regard to state corporations, the respective state corporation boards have been instructed to urgently convene special board meetings to appoint acting officers for all named chief executives and other officers.”

The listed parastatal chiefs include the chairman of the Agricultural Finance Corporation, Mr Patrick Osero, managing director Geothermal Development Company Dr Silas Simiyu, and the managing director, Nzoia Sugar Company, Mr Francis Oyatsi.

Others are the Managing Trustee of the National Social Security Fund Richard Langat, chief executive officers Kentrade Alex Kabuga and acting CEO National Water Conservation Board Evans Ngibuini.Also in the list are Kenya Airports Authority managing director Lucy Mbugua, Kenya Pipeline Company managing director Charles Tanui and the chief executive Tourism Fund/Catering Levy Trustees Allan Chenane.

Moments before State House spoke, only Mr Koskei had announced his decision to step aside while insisting he was innocent and that he was unaware of the charges against him.

It was while he was addressing the press at his Kilimo House office that State House convened a media briefing to announce the presidential decision.