NAKURU, Kenya, Feb 13 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Saturday said there were no sacred cows in the fight against corruption in Kenya.
The premier was however quick to add that he will not support calls to punish innocent people before investigations were over.
Addressing delegates and civic leaders from his ODM party in Nakuru, Mr Odinga said: “The truth will come out and those behind scams in government will be exposed and punished.”
This was in apparent reference to the multi-billion shillings maize scandal where senior civil servants in his office are implicated.
Mr Odinga’s remarks came hours after Permanent Secretary in the PM’s office, Mohammed Isahakia and the Principal Administration Secretary, Caroli Omondi announced that they were stepping aside until the Maize Scandal saga is resolved.
President Mwai Kibaki later in the evening announced that the two officials had been suspended to allow for investigations.
An audit report on the maize scandal by PriceWaterhouseCoopers “(PwC) called for further investigations on the two officials.
The scandal was reported in 2008 when the government initiated the subsidised maize scheme to mitigate hunger that had ravaged over 10 million Kenyans. However the program was dogged with corruption allegations and inefficiencies.
Dr Isahakia was cited as a partner in the company, Interglobal, which was allocated 10,000 bags of maize which was later sold to millers.
Mr Omondi was accused of influencing the inclusion of a firm known as Afgri in the tender process to deliver maize, and varying the price and amount of cereal that the firm delivered to the NCPB.
He was mentioned adversely in the PwC report after he declined to release any documents from the Cabinet, but it turns out he could not have done so during the investigation since he was bound by the official secrets Act.
Mr Omondi was a representative of the Office of the Prime Minister on an Ad hoc committee that had an oversight role since there were serious concerns about the capacity and integrity of the NCPB committee conducting the procurement process.
On Wednesday a section of MPs allied to the Party of National Unity challenged the Premier to lead by example and step aside since “he had failed to effectively co-ordinate his officers and the ministries.”
But the PM defended himself saying the coalition government was working to address corruption
Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers has denied exonerating anyone from the maize scandal.
Capital News has seen a letter written by PwC director Philip Kinisu to Finance PS Joseph Kinyua saying he did not intend to alter the contents of the report in remarks he made at a press conference on Thursday.
Mr Kinisu had said PwC was in possession of documents that showed Mr Omondi acted under proper instruction from the Cabinet in dealings with a company known as Afgri.
He said he did not intend to alter the report with his remarks.
On Thursday, Kinisu said they had seen documents that showed Mr Omondi acted with proper instruction.
Mr Kinyua said any documents coming after the report should be submitted to the government and not PwC.