, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – Jubilee Members of Parliament on Wednesday summoned Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru to answer questions over the alleged misuse of public funds in her Ministry.
Waiguru who has remained defiant that she will not step aside said she is willing to answer MPs questions as long as they relate to what she’s directly responsible for.
“I am required by law that when I am called by Parliament, to honour the call, so I will go to Parliament. But they will only ask me questions related to my role. I cannot present accounts of the Ministry because I am not the accounting officer. But to appear to answer questions, that I will do,” she told reporters at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre following the launch of a Common Programme for Ending Drought Emergencies on Wednesday morning.
Waiguru has come out to vehemently defend herself after it emerged that billions of tax payers’ shillings may have been looted in her ministry through inflated procurement costs.
She’s denied some of the charges that have been billed to her office including for the purchase of a touch screen television priced at approximately Sh1.7 million. “I do not have a screen or a piano in my office.”
Waiguru told reporters that first, it hadn’t been conclusively established that the inflated procurement costs attributed to her Ministry were accurate and secondly, if they were accurate, she said, it had nothing to do with her.
“If you steal this microphone,” she posed to Capital FM News, “will your boss be fired?”
Waiguru defended that procurement law is deliberately set up to do away with interference from the powers that be. “As a matter of fact, until yesterday in Parliament, I wouldn’t have known how much a biro costs because they don’t bring the price list to the Minister. The minister never sees them, you’re never asked, you’re not consulted on those matters.
“Those functions are articulated further in the Public Financial Management Act. They cannot be transferred because of witch-hunt, to a minister,” she said.
In an earlier post on her Facebook account, Waiguru said her person was therefore under unfair attack.
“It is amazing that whereas there are similar and more serious allegations of misuse of funds in many government departments there is never the personalised level of attack on CSs that has been directed at me,” she posted.
Calls for Waiguru to step aside began back in June after it emerged that Sh791 million shillings was stolen through questionable procurement deals at the National Youth Service.
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The calls have now intensified as it emerges that there could have been fraudulent dealings at another Semi-Autonomous Government Agency, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, of which she’s in-charge as Devolution Cabinet Secretary.
As she’s done since June, Waiguru has rebuffed these calls saying that unlike her suspended counterparts, she is not personally suspected of having abused her office.