, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – The war on corruption took centre stage during the vetting of Cabinet Secretary nominees Mwangi Kiunjuri and Charles Keter on Friday morning.
Appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Appointments, Kiunjuri defended himself against irregularity claims while he served as Assistant Minister for water.
Despite repeated probing by the panel chaired by Speaker Justin Muturi, he stated that all his dealings were above board and that no allegations were levelled against him.
“I am surprised that no one has sworn an affidavit on this issue. This is because there are people out there who would like to drag other people’s names in the mud. The law is very clear on how you submit your complaints,” he stated.
“If it is criminal, you go to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the matter will be addressed. You will either be charged and then the DPP will also be waiting.”
He has also refuted claims that he was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to replace Anne Waiguru as a political strategy.
“It is very clear according to the Constitution we have today that we have a presidential system of government which is all inclusive. I am very grateful to the President for also having realized that there is also potential in the Opposition. We have General Nkaissery, having joined the government from Opposition. And then we have Honourable Kazungu,” he said.
There were light moments during the vetting when Kiunjuri clarified why he has a problem pronouncing English words.
“Madam Speaker you know that I have a slight problem of pronunciation and I am very proud of it because that is my heritage. I will only have a problem if I cannot speak good Kikuyu and I am proud of it,” he stated.
Keter on the other hand explained that his sacking while he was the Assistant Minister for energy in the Grand Coalition Government was political and not due to his performance.
Speaking before the committee, Keter stated that he disagreed with the appointing authority on the matter of the ICC cases.
He however said he had a stellar record during his tenure as an assistant minister.
“Indeed I was sacked because of a disagreement in terms of the issues of the Hague after the post election violence. The way we disagreed as a coalition caused me to be sacked. So it was political and nothing to do with me as an assistant minister,” he indicated.
Keter further denied having any knowledge on why a witness in a case he was charged suddenly withdrew his affidavit thus exonerating him.
“When I received an affidavit and was asked to respond to it, I did so myself because the person in question claimed he knew me yet I was only one year in the office when he was sacked, so he could not have known me” he said.
Also vetted was Health Cabinet Secretary nominee Dr Cleopa Mailu who spoke at length on how he intends to transform the health sector.
Mailu is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Nairobi Hospital.
There were also 11 committees also lined up to vet the 24 Principal Secretaries on the same day.
The nominees were required to bring the originals of their identity cards, academic and professional certificates and other testimonials.
They were also required to produce clearance certificates from the Kenya Revenue Authority, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Higher Education Loans Board, the Criminal Investigation Department and from any of the Credit Reference Bureaus.