PAC to grill Ringera, NSIS boss over scandals

January 17, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – Kenya Anti Corruption Commission boss Aaron Ringera and the Director General of the National Security Intelligence Service Michael Gichangi are to be grilled by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) next week over the fuel and food scandals.

PAC has summoned the two along eight senior government officials including the Permanent Secretaries (PSs) in charge of Agriculture (Romano Kiome), Special Programmes (Ali Dawood) and Finance (Joseph Kinyua).

PAC Chairman Bonny Khalwale said they are also to grill the Managing Director of National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) Gideon Misoi and his Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) counterpart James Mulewa. Also to be questioned is the Chairman of the Kenya Millers Association Diamond Laji.

“We would like to assure Kenyans that once the committee is through with its investigation, we will not protect anyone who has been involved in the scam and will also ensure that the Attorney General’s office takes action,” he said. 

Mr Khalwale said the committee expects the officials to shed more light on the two mega scandals.

“What going on is unacceptable, its nauseating to the extent that you imagine that some of the PSs we have summoned and some of the ministers might as well be involved,” he said.

“It’s sad that some of them were sitting before foreign missions yesterday (Friday) begging, when we know what they are asking for is equivalent to what is being sought to address the food shortage in the country.”

The government launched its Sh37 billion emergency food relief appeal on Friday, but donors said they were unimpressed with the graft scandals surrounding leaders and bad policies that may have contributed to the food shortage.

The PAC summons comes barely a day after the Parliamentary Committee on Energy said it was to summon Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi and his PS Patrick Nyoike over the Sh7.6 billion oil scandal involving Triton Petroleum and Kenya Pipeline Company officials.

Dr Khalwale says they will also be seeking to establish whether there are proper accounting mechanisms at the institutions involved.

“Already we have reports that the government doesn’t have proper accounting systems and this actually opens up the possibility of unscrupulous individuals benefiting from the unfortunate situation.”
The NCPB boss will be expected to expound on reports that huge consignments of cereals from their warehouses had been released to some Members of Parliament (MPs) illegally.

“Since MPs are not millers maybe they have been registering themselves as brief case millers. We will be seeking to know the truth when the (NCPB) MD appears before us,”  Dr Khalwale said.

The KPA MD is expected to give an insight into the operations at the port in the wake of claims that Grain Bulk Handling Limited was slow in clearing goods at the port could be the cause of the cereals shortage.

“We are living under laws that discourage monopolies. We hope he will tell us more about it and we’ll also expect him to tells us how long it will take a second grain bulk handling facility to be in place because some experts have indicated that it can be in place in 9 months,” he said.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere have discredited claims that the current food shortage was due to lack of a second grain handler, claiming that it would take more than three years to complete the facility.



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