, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – Cabinet Ministers William Ruto and Professor Sam Ongeri have now been suspended from government for three months with immediate effect.
The decision to suspend the Agriculture and Education Ministers was announced by Prime Minister Raila Odinga at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
“I am taking this action because two recent investigations – the forensic audit by the PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Maize scandal and the reports of the Internal Auditor General on Free Primary Education, have laid credible foundations for the two ministers to be investigated,” the Prime Minister said.
But as soon as Prime Minister Raila Odinga made the announcement, Mr Ongeri told reporters that he was still in office since he had not heard from the President who appointed him.
“I have not heard any message from the appointing authority and I am quite clear in my mind who is the appointing authority.”
Mr Ruto was not immediately available for comment but insiders close to him said he was awaiting instructions from State House where he took his oath of office.
He said the decision was also important to pave way for the government to conduct fair, independent and comprehensive investigations which would result in gathering evidence to determine if any individuals needed to be prosecuted in the two scandals.
Mr Odinga told reporters the move was taken after consultations with President Mwai Kibaki.
He however said Special Programmes Minister Naomi Shaaban could not be suspended because she had not been specifically mentioned in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the multi billion shillings maize scam.
The two ministers were suspended a day after the President asked four Permanent Secretaries to step aside.
The officials included Education Permanent Secretary Karega Mutahi, Romano Kiome (Agriculture), Mohamed Isahakia (Office of the PM) and Ali Mohamed (Special Programmes).
“I am also directing Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC), the CID and the Inspectorate of State Corporations to jointly pursue this matter further,” Mr Odinga said.
He directed the team to review the two reports as well as the reports on the maize scandal by KACC, the Inspectorate of State Corporation, and the CID, with a view to recommending those cases which should be prosecuted.
Below is the full statement by the PM:
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for being here not only on a Sunday but on Valentine’s Day.
In exercise of the authority vested in the Prime Minister in accordance with the provisions of Section 15 (a) of the Constitution, and Section 4 (1) of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, which confer on me also the authority to supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the government, including ministries, I am hereby suspending with immediate effect the following ministers for a period of three months:
Hon. William Ruto, Minister of Agriculture.
Hon. Samuel Ongeri. Minister of Education.
I am taking this action because two recent investigations, the forensic audit by PwC on the maize scandal, and the Report of the Internal Auditor General on Free Primary Education, have laid credible foundations for the two ministers to be investigated.
In addition, in order for the government to conduct fair, independent and comprehensive investigations which would result in gathering evidence to determine if any individuals need to be prosecuted in these two scandals , it is important that Hon. Ruto and Hon Ongeri step aside.
I am also directing KACC, the CID and the Inspectorate of State Corporations to jointly pursue this matter further.
This team should review the above two reports, as well as the reports on the maize scandal by KACC, the Inspectorate of State Corporations, and the CID, with a view to recommending those cases which should be prosecuted.
Capital News has in the meantime perused the National Accord (which you can download here http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/download.php ) to ascertain what it says about the firing of Cabinet Ministers in the Coalition government.
It states that the removal of any minister nominated by a parliamentary party of the coalition shall be made only after prior consultation and concurrence in writing with the leader of that party.