, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – A group of legislators allied to the Jubilee Administration have accused the Opposition of being behind Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru’s latest woes.
It emerged on Wednesday that billions of tax payer shillings could have been pocketed by unscrupulous individuals through the purchase of furniture and equipment at the ministry at inflated prices.
But Jubilee legislators who spoke after meeting the Cabinet Secretary at a Nairobi hotel on Wednesday night laid the blame on the Opposition.
The legislators who included Nominated Senators Beth Mugo, Naisula Lesuuda and MPs Cecily Mbarire, Ferdinand Waititu and Moses Kuria however failed to explain how the Opposition led by Raila Odinga could be behind figures that were tabled before the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee by Waiguru’s Principal Secretary.
Appointed to communicate the legislators’ stand, Fafi MP and URP Chairman Elias Bare Shill said they would provide evidence of their accusations on Thursday.
“They (the Opposition) are playing 2017 politics,” Shill said of the next General Election date.
The lawmakers spoke a few hours after fellow MP Alfred Keter told reporters he’d obtained support for his motion of impeachment against Waiguru from some in their ranks.
Those who met Waiguru on Wednesday night however said they were firmly in her corner and did not support calls for her to step aside to allow for independent investigations into the suspected fraudulent activity in her ministry.
Waiguru spent the better part of Wednesday trying to distance herself from the report tabled before PAC by her Principal Secretary.
Figures tabled by PS Peter Mangiti showed that biro pens for instance could have been purchased at an exorbitant Sh8,000-plus each.
Waiguru rebuffed calls for her to ‘step aside’ by arguing that she as a Cabinet Secretary could not by law participate in the procurement process.
“I don’t even know how much the pen on my desk costs. It’s not like it comes with a price list,” she told reporters.
She countered the argument that ‘the buck stops with her’ as the head of the ministry by stating and restating that she was not an accounting officer.
It was not the first time the Cabinet Secretary was forced to go on the defensive. In June Waiguru first refused to step aside after it emerged that Sh791 was lost to corrupt dealings at the National Youth Service, one of the agencies that falls under her Ministry.
The latest calls for her to step aside also come at a time when officials of another agency in her docket, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, are being investigated for fraud.