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Kimunya gives Inquiry cold shoulder

NAIROBI, September 29 – Former Finance Minister Amos Kimunya will not testify before the Commission of Inquiry into the sale of the Grand Regency Hotel.

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.

“When you first summoned Mr Kimunya he appeared here for three days and even offered to give his testimony as the first witness, but my Lord (Justice Majid Cockar) suggested that we wait until all other parties had given their testimonies. Now we have formed the view that there is no evidence on record that would require him to come,” Prof Muigai told the commission.

Mr Kimunya who resigned following his alleged wrongdoing in the controversial sale had been widely expected to start giving evidence as the final witness before the inquiry gets final submissions from lawyers appearing for various individuals and institutions.
Previous witnesses include Lands Minister James Orengo, Lands Commissioner Zablon Mubea and Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Njuguna Ndung’u.

Last week the CBK Governor absolved Mr Kimunya from any blame, saying the former minister was not involved in determining a buyer for the five star hotel or the sale price.

Meanwhile Crystal Valuers Limited (CVL) Director Timothy Njehia was put to task by lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui of Westmont Holdings at Monday’s hearing over a valuation report he had submitted to the commission.

Mr Kinyanjui questioned CVL’s valuation report arguing it was similar to one given by Lloyd Masika valuers, and accused Njehia of plagiarising it.
“Looking at your report anyone would infer that you lifted the text.  If you go to paragraph four of Masika’s (report) it’s your sixth paragraph.”

Mr Njehia however refuted the claims saying he had not seen the Masika report. Crystal Valuers was hired by the Cockar Commission last month to carry out a fresh valuation of the prime property and found that the hotel was worth Sh2.034 billion.

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Valuation of the hotel and the manner in which it was sold are the sticking points at the inquiry.

The commission whose mandate was due to end on Tuesday was appointed by President Mwai Kibaki in July to investigate the sale of the Grand Regency Hotel and the roles Mr Kimunya and Professor Ndung’u played.

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