Kenya PM aide maintains his innocence

March 1, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 1 – Suspended Chief of Staff at the Prime Minister’s office  Caroli Omondi was on Monday questioned by detectives at the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) where he denied any involvement in the maize scandal.

Mr Omondi arrived at the Integrity Centre offices in Nairobi shortly after 10am and was interrogated up to 3pm when he emerged and freely spoke to journalists.

“I just brought documents to establish that the Cabinet had approved all the actions that were attributed to me and that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was extremely wrong to make the conclusions that they did because they did not refer to the Cabinet documents which I am carrying here,” he said.

Mr Omondi who also served as Raila Odinga’s Personal Assistant was sent on forced leave to pave way for an investigation over the scandal hours after he voluntarily announced he was stepping aside. 

The probe revolves around the loss of 3.4 million bags of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve in 2008 when the country was facing an acute food shortage caused by drought.

The KACC opened an investigation into the matter after private audit firm PwC handed over their report to the government, in which it called for further investigations against several government officials among them Mr Omondi.

“I have every document, Cabinet minutes, Cabinet instructions and everything,” he said in his defense to the accusations leveled against him.

Mr Omondi told journalists he was optimistic he would be reinstated to continue discharging his mandate at the Prime Minister’s office on expiry of the 90 days KACC was given to complete the investigation.

“I am a clean man, I am not culpable of anything.  I was executing the decisions of the Cabinet,” he said and added that “and the documents are all here.”

Back to office

“I will be reinstated in due course.  I think they should do it very quickly because I want to go back to work on Kazi Kwa Vijana, I don’t expect to go to court unless they want to charge the entire Cabinet,” he said.

Last week, Permanent Secretaries Ali Mohammed of (Special Programmes), Romano Kiome of Agriculture and Mohammed Isahakia of the PM’s office appeared before detectives at the KACC to ascertain any culpability in the scandal.

At the time, the Special Programmes PS told journalists he stood by all the actions he took in his capacity as the chief accounting officer at the Ministry.

“In positions such as these ones, we make decisions based on the information available at that time.  That is what I did and I stood by my actions… I am an innocent man,” he said.

Others who have appeared before the commission are Prof Gideon Misoi who was suspended from the NCPB as Managing Director and Sales and Marketing Manager James Cheruiyot Boit.

The KACC has indicated that it is expediting the investigation to beat the 90-day deadline given by President Mwai Kibaki to carry out a proper, independent and accurate investigation.

Officials cleared by the KACC team will be reinstated but those culpable will likely be charged in court by the end of May.


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