Aden Duale: Graft cartels blackmailing State

Kieni MP Kanini Kega, Kikuyu counterpart Kimani Ichungwa and Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki at Endarasha, Kieni, yesterday.  [PHOTO: sammy mose/STANDARD]
           Kieni MP Kanini Kega, Kikuyu counterpart Kimani Ichungwa and Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki at Endarasha, Kieni, yesterday. [PHOTO: sammy mose/STANDARD]
By FRANCIS NGIGE and ALPHONCE SHIUNDU

Top leaders in the Jubilee government now claim that people allegedly running corruption cartels and blackmailing the government are behind the campaign to stop the multi-billion shilling standard gauge railway project.

The leaders have demanded that President Uhuru Kenyatta exposes the cartels within a week, failure to which they will name and shame the crooks.

They further claimed that the same “mafia style operators” were involved in the multi-billion shilling Anglo-Leasing scandal, whose debt the national Treasury is still saddled with since it was exposed in 2002.

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Although the leaders fell short of naming the people publicly, they insisted that the individuals are well known by Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto “since they are hiding under government skirts”.

Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki and his National Assembly counterpart Adan Duale led a group of Jubilee leaders in demanding that Uhuru makes public names of the people holding the government at ransom.

Defending the government over the railway project from Mombasa to Malaba, the leaders said it was only through such exposure that Kenyans would know the truth.

The leaders spoke as Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury Henry Rotich labelled the railway project as a good deal for the country.

Mr Rotich cautioned MPs against pushing the government to cancel the project that will cost the taxpayer at least Sh440 billion in the first phase between Mombasa and Nairobi.

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But yesterday Prof Kindiki and Mr Duale were breathing fire insisting that for corruption to end, the government ought to come clean on a few individuals blackmailing it.

“We are giving the President and his deputy seven days to name these people who have perfected the art of corruption through successive governments. Mr President, you know them, please deal with them through the proper government instruments,” Duale said.

The leaders said the “known wheeler-dealers” were behind the hue and cry over the standard gauge railway project “after they failed to get a piece of the pie in the deal”.

Speaking in Nyeri yesterday, the leaders said the same group of influential businessmen running a “deep-rooted” corruption network was behind the Anglo-Leasing scandal that soiled President Kibaki’s government.

They claimed that the individuals were using Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter to spread “propaganda about the standard gauge railway project”.

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Prof Kindiki and Duale, who were accompanied by Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and MPs Kimani Ichungwah and Kanini Kega, spoke in Kieni during the burial of freedom fighter Theuri Njugi alias General Kimbo.

A comment by Murkomen appeared to suggest that the “individuals” they were talking about were in government.

He said: “We are telling the President and his deputy to sack these people who have been hiding under the government to carry out corruption. We need him to deal with this matter decisively.”

“We are giving you seven days to tell the architects of Anglo-Leasing who are now using the same trick to blackmail the government over the railway tender to make money. Uhuru must give a statement regarding these issue,” said Duale.

“The country has for a long time been hijacked by a few corrupt individuals who run cartels and are usually intimidating even the government. They think because they have money, they can blackmail everyone,” said Prof Kindiki.

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He said the individuals “were there during (President) Moi’s regime, entered the Kibaki government and now want to run the show in the Uhuru tenure.”

“We know that they boast they have money to pull deals, but we are telling them this is a new regime that will not tolerate corruption. If you have intimidated the other governments, we are telling the President to tell them to look elsewhere,” said Prof Kindiki.

He called on Uhuru to resist the pressure from the corrupt individuals and concentrate on fulfilling the Jubilee manifesto.

Benefits over cost

“As senior politicians in this government, we are telling the President to name these people publicly or we will do it ourselves because they are known,” said the Tharaka Nithi Senator.

Duale said Uhuru had a responsibility to tell Kenyans about the individuals who had been running corruption cartels.

He added: “These are the people behind (Alfred) Keter. They have not realised that their corrupt ways are coming to an end.”

Murkomen described the individuals as monsters who were out “to milk the public coffers dry”.

“These are brokers who want to eat from every government. Like in the railway tender they are looking at a cool Sh4.6 billion,” said Murkomen.

Speaking at a meeting with the House Committee on Transport and Public Works in Nairobi’s Continental House, Rotich said the project would boost economic growth by at least 1.5 per cent in the construction period, and when it begins operations.

“This is a critical project whose long-term benefits will outweigh the costs. The economic and social benefits of the project surpass, by far, the money invested in it,” the Cabinet Secretary told the MPs.

Aden Duale Graft cartels standard gauge railway project