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I only spent Sh400,000 for hotel, says Raila

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – The Prime Minister\’s Office has strongly denied allegations that Raila Odinga has extravagantly spent public funds during his trips abroad.

According his Director of Communication Dennis Onyango, the legislators who have accused Mr Odinga of squandering public funds are ill motivated with intentions to taint his political image.

The PM had been put on the spot in Parliament on Wednesday, with Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny alleging that Mr Odinga had incurred a bill of Sh1.8 million ($21,00) over three days that he stayed in the US during a recent trip.

"We view allegations by the MP as acts of ignorance, inspired by malice and an obsession with trying to mudsling the PM and reduce his profile in national and international affairs," countered Mr Onyango.

He said the Prime Minister\’s room at the Waldorf Astoria in New York cost about Sh414,800 for accommodation for the three nights he was there.

"The cost of the PM\’s room was $1,600 per day for the three days he was accommodated at the facility. It included Room Occupancy tax of $94.00, State Room Tax of $142.00 and a related tax of $8.00 that covered amenities like use of Internet, a meeting room to receive leaders visiting him; a bedroom annex for one bodyguard and a personal assistant; and a dining room," he said.

The PM\’s spokesman said the rest of Mr Odinga\’s delegation stayed in standard rooms which cost Sh21, 500 per night.

He said at no time did the Prime Minister use public funds to travel abroad for private businesses and clarified that he used tax payer\’s money during government trips only.

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"We wish to state further that the PM never travels abroad in vain or for fun. Each trip the PM has made out of the country at the expense of tax payers has been on the line of duty and has returned great rewards," he said.

Mr Onyango further charged that Mr Kutuny was in the same category of MPs who have been alleging that Mr Odinga pushed the Kenyan suspects to be investigated by the International Criminal Court.

"Insinuations that the PM is travelling for fun or in vain, and attempts to lump his travels with those undertaken by other Government officials, are grossly unfair and clearly undermine the PM\’s commitment to helping the country move forward," he argued.

A review of Mr Odinga\’s diary reveal that he has been making as many as three foreign trips a month, translating into millions of shillings in travel and accommodation expenses.

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