CBK governor summoned over bank

By Peter Opiyo

NAIROBI, KENYA: Central Bank of Kenya Governor Njuguna Ndung’u has been summoned to appear before a parliamentary team to answer to why he disobeyed orders to re-open Charterhouse Bank.

The Parliamentary Committee on Implementation was compelled to write the summonses after Prof Ndung’u snubbed the meeting for a third time.

Committee Chairman and Tharaka MP Alex Mwiru said the committee had been frustrated by the governor’s failure to show up and was growing impatient as a result of his misdemeanor, saying he often gave flimsy excuses whenever invited by the committee.

“He wants the committee to play to his whims, which we cannot,” said Mr Mwiru.

The committee met and agreed that summonses be issued after the governor failed to appear. He is expected to appear before the committee within seven days of signing of the summonses by National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende.

Hostile witness

Should one fail to honour the summonses, the committee declares him a hostile witness attracting a jail term of six months.

“If worse comes to worst then we will tell Parliament that this is a hostile witness,” said Mwiru.

The governor was set to appear before the team on Wednesday but failed, only writing a letter on the same day citing a court case on the matter.

“We are constrained not to appear unless and until the court orders are either set aside or varied to avoid conflicting proceedings with due prejudice to ourselves,” Ndung’u wrote to the committee.

The bank was placed under statutory management in 2006 on claims of money laundering and tax evasion but Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Trade and Planning cleared it of the allegations and ordered its re-opening.

On Wednesday, Mwiru said it was wrong to have a statutory manager paid to run a closed bank and earn money for doing nothing.