By Martin Mutua
No less can be said of a man who stirred the hornet’s nest in 2003 as Lands Minister when he referred to title deeds as mere pieces of paper, presided over the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel in 2008, cancelled a currency-printing deal in 2007, and is now faced with questions over the cancellation of a tender as Transport minister.
He is a man who once swore he would rather die than resign over the controversial sale of the Grand (now Laico) Regency Hotel.
Sh55 billion contract
Indeed the latest controversy on the termination of a Sh55 billion contract for the construction of a passenger terminal at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) stubbornly inks Mr Kimunya’s resume with unwanted stuff as the curtain comes down on President Kibaki’s Government.
His tribulations are therefore just suppressed, at least for now. For as debate on the PAC’s report is shelved, three parliamentary committees are digging in to establish whether he acted in good faith in cancelling the JKIA deal. Speaker Kenneth Marende on Thursday gave the Committee on Budget, Transport and Finance to investigate the termination of the JKIA contract and file a report within 14 days.
In the deal, it is said Kimunya ignored the advice of the Cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure, as well as that of the Attorney General, and the Office of the Prime Minister.
The MPs claimed the minister’s obstinacy had drawn complaints from President Kibaki’s office.
On July 27, Acting Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia wrote to the Kenya Airports Authority Board over the tender. “In my opinion, it is in bad taste and disrespectful to the Cabinet to attempt to compel the managing director to undertake such action (cancellation of the contract) behind the Cabinet Committee and the Cabinet itself,” wrote Mr Kimemia.
But Kimunya maintained the KAA board met in February and resolved that the procurement be stopped.
“The project cost had moved from about $500 million to $653 million, and no approval had been sought from the board,” Kimunya told MPs.