NAIROBI, July 6 – Embattled Finance Minister Amos Kimunya on Sunday put on a brave face stating that he will not resign from office and in a spirited defence maintained his innocence in the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel.,
Kimunya said during a public rally in his Kipipiri home turf that he would only step aside if an independent committee is appointed to probe the controversial saga of the transfer of the five star hotel and finds him guilty.
Kimunya insisted: “If what I saw in Parliament, where people shout; you have done this and that, then you are thrown out. Of a probe committee of those who were involved, is the kind of justice I am going to receive on resignation, then I would rather die than resign.”
Kimunya added another twist to the controversy when he accused Lands Minister James Orengo of asking for a bribe in order to allow the otherwise clean hotel sale, go through.
“When he was told by the lawyer that everything is above board and there was no need to pay the Sh3 million he was demanding he started to say that things were out of hand and he would blow the whistle. Even getting into the committee is just to cover up just in case that information is to come up. I want Orengo to stand up and deny he did not ask for the bribe.”
Kimunya said that he was being fought because of his stand against corruption, blocking of pending bills, money laundering and licensing of small banks and other financial institutions.
The besieged Finance Minister said the accusations against him were mere politicking and that his accusers were the ones guilty of graft. Kimunya asserted that he would only consider resigning if everyone else mentioned in the controversial sale of the hotel steps aside as well.
Among those he wants to step aside include Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who he said knew about the transaction by the 23rd of April. Others are Attorney General Amos Wako, Kenya Anti Corruption Chief Aaron Ringera and Orengo.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta who was present said he was reading mischief in the saga and backed the independent review proposal.
He called for a cessation of the witch-hunt campaign that has been waged against Kimunya, saying there was need to make public all the information surrounding the deal.
“We can wreck the future of a person or a nation, if we opted to conduct our government duties through accusations without showing evidence as along as it is an agenda to destroy each others careers,”said the Uhuru.
Uhuru who also doubles up as the Trade Minister said the uncertainty over the facts touching on the sale of the hotel is affecting the country’s image abroad as an investment destination.
“We keep saying that we want to attract investments so that our youth can get employment opportunities but what if this deal turns out to be a legitimate business transaction between the Libyans and our government so that we can get other investors, do you think that there is any foreign investor who will be willing to come, if he sees that is the kind of treatment he is going to get.”
Government Chief Whip George Thuo, Assistant Minister Lee Kinyanjui among other MPs attended the rally.
Earlier, Thuo dismissed the sub-cabinet committee, which was given one day to probe the sale of the hotel and called for more thorough investigations.
“We should not be in a hurry; let’s have investigation by an independent team. There is no need to tell us that so and so greeted another so he should step side while others who saw, heard and are mentioned are not told to step aside.”
The Finance Minister has come under fire over the discredited transfer, which saw MPs pass a vote of no confidence against him in Parliament on Wednesday and called on him to resign.
Back benchers in Parliament and a section of civil society last week led protests in Nairobi and Mombasa demanding that the Minister resign or the President fire him.