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Kimunya had no role in Libyan deal

NAIROBI September 25 – Former Finance Minister Amos Kimunya was not involved in determining whom the Grand Regency hotel would be sold to or the disposal price, Central Bank Governor Njuguna Ndung’u has said.

Professor Ndung’u on Thursday told the commission of inquiry into the sale of the hotel that Mr Kimunya only offered the bank guidance in the most effective way of disposing the hotel.

He said the ex-minister’s role in advising the bank on the expeditious sale of the hotel, was within the interests of both the government and the bank to ‘rid the public of the contentious issue’, emanating from the Goldenberg scam.

Mr Kimunya’s lawyer, Professor Githu Muigai had sought to clarify his client’s role in the contentious sale that culminated in the Kipipiri MP’s eventual resignation from the government, pending investigations.

Below is an excerpt from the proceedings:

Muigai: Do you recall, the Honourable Amos Kimunya after undertaking to Parliament to guide CBK in handling this matter, did he identify for you a buyer?

Ndung’u: No he did not.

Muigai: Did he, perhaps, suggest that you sell the hotel, say, at Sh5 billion?

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Ndung’u: No he didn’t.

The governor also said that the bank never sought any legal advice from the Ministry of Finance, since the Central Bank board of directors had approved the sale based on its statutory mandate.

He maintained that the bank relied upon professional advice both from within and outside the bank, on the due process of disposing of the hotel.

Second transaction

Meanwhile, Prof Ndung’u notified the commission that this was the second transaction where the CBK had sold an asset without involving the Attorney General, Lands Minister and the Finance Minister.

The first deal involved the sale of the Governor’s former residence situated in Nairobi’s Muthaiga estate.

Professor Ndung’u said the residence, named Hamilton House, was sold at cost of Sh75 million without the involvement of the said parties, presenting a similar situation to that before the commission.

Earlier at the inquiry, the Governor denied discussing the sale of the hotel with Lands Minister James Orengo, but acknowledged there was communication with the Commissioner of Lands over the matter.

The CBK boss is expected to complete testimony at the commission on Friday at noon.

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