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Inquiry likely to summon Finance PS

NAIROBI, September 30 – The Commission of Inquiry into the sale of the Grand Regency Hotel might now summon Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua to give evidence.

The Commission was on Tuesday debating whether to receive evidence from Mr Kinyua after Assisting Counsel Wilfred Mati argued that it was necessary to summon the PS to explain the role played by the Treasury in the sale, after former Finance Minister Amos Kimunya declined to testify.

Lawyer Githu Muigai said on Monday that Mr Kimunya would forgo appearance at the inquiry because none of the 21 witnesses who gave evidence adversely implicated him in the hotel’s sale.

But Mr Mati said: “Not receiving evidence from Treasury would be wrong and we are conscious of the time we have (to conclude hearings) so we will try to persuade Mr Kinyua to come on Thursday.”

Prof Muigai and Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Lawyer Philip Murgor however said the PS had nothing to tell the commission and like Mr Kimunya had not been implicated in the sale by the 21 witnesses.

“Previously my learned friend (Mr Mati) thought so little of Mr Kinyua’s testimony that he never took a statement from him at any time,” Prof Muigai told the Commission.

On his part, Mr Murgor said:  “On Monday we were not advised that there was a possibility of calling the Treasury PS.  The move is a clumsy attempt to procure a further extension of the proceedings of this commission.”

The chairman of the inquiry Justice Majid Cockar said he would make a ruling on Friday after going through Mr Kinyua’s statement on the sale of the five star hotel.

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The commission’s mandate expired on Tuesday but the Secretary Anthony Ombwayo told Capital News that the panel had written to President Mwai Kibaki seeking a further time to complete its work.

“We are awaiting approval by the President and we are optimistic that he will consider the extension so that we can prepare the final report,” he said.

The Cockar commission was appointed by the President in July to investigate the sale of the Grand Regency Hotel and the roles Mr Kimunya and CBK Governor Professor Njuguna Ndung’u played.

It had been expected to hear evidence, compile its findings and hand in its report on September 29 but has sought two previous extensions.

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