, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6 – The probe into the procurement of a luxury jet for use by Deputy President William Ruto took a new turn on Tuesday when it emerged that President Uhuru Kenyatta did not follow proper procedure when sending his deputy to four African countries.
The Administrative Secretary in the Office of the Deputy President Abdul Mwasera told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that he had not seen an Executive Order from the President authorising the trip.
“In accordance with Article 147 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, the President instructed the Deputy President to undertake travel from May 16-19 to meet the Heads of States of four African countries,” he told the committee.
“It should be noted that there was no Executive order to this assignment,” Mwasera added.
Dennis Kariuki, a director at the Kenya National Audit Office had told the committee that his office had not seen any written communication from the president instructing Ruto to represent him in the trip to Congo, Gabon, Nigeria and Algeria.
“Now that we are dealing with the President and his Deputy, the communication can be by way of a discussion… it can be verbal, it can be relayed by telephone; which in turn the DP will relay to his Chief of Staff for implementation and that is what happened in this case,” Mwasera explained.
But Committee Chairman Ababu Namwamba sought clarification on the matter, citingArticle 135 of the Constitution which requires that ‘a decision of the President shall be in writing and shall bear the seal and signature of the President.’
“Would you say that any instructions given by the President in the nature such as this one would fall under the purview of Article 135?” Namwamba asked.
“Bwana Chairman, I don’t think I am competent enough to interpret the law, maybe the (Attorney General) could be in a better position,” said the official from the Deputy President’s Office.
He added that the Chief of Staff never told him the mode in which the ‘President’s instruction’ was conveyed.
This prompted Namwamba to ask if there was any record of the said ‘communication between the President and his Deputy.’
Mwasera said he had not seen the said record yet.
MPs further clashed on the issue after Suna East MP Junet Mohammed requested the Deputy President to be summoned to tell the House team how the communication was made.
Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire said the move was in bad taste and is tantamount to micromanaging communication between the President and his deputy while Suba MP John Mbadi said summoning the Ruto might be construed as a political witch-hunt.
Namwamba directed the Auditor-General’s office to submit their report within a period of two weeks.
During an earlier sitting of the committee, it also emerged that all the three companies which were invited to participate in a bid to supply a luxury jet for Ruto’s tour have not filed their annual returns since they were registered.
Registrar General Bernice Gachege told the Public Accounts Committee that a company which won the bid has not filed returns since November 11 when it was registered.
While two other firms have also not filed their returns since September 1997 and May 2008 when they last registered.
“Because our systems are largely manual there isn’t a tracking system. When I joined the Office of the Attorney-General my duty was to prosecute companies that failed to file their annual returns and because the companies were few we had a record of those that had filed,” stated the Registrar-General.
Gachege explained that her office is facing challenges enforcing the requirements, which companies must file their returns within 18 months of being incorporated.