Treasury CS Ndung'u in trouble for snubbing MPs' probe on Yeda's term at EADB

When Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u appeared before the Committee on Diaspora Affairs and Migrant Workers. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

MPs are unhappy with Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u after he failed to appear before them to explain the legality of the tenure of East African Development Bank (EADB) boss Vivianne Apopo Yeda and now risks a summon.

The CS was expected to appear before the National Assembly Finance Committee, chaired by Molo MP Kimani Kuria, on Thursday over a question that had been raised by Matungulu MP Stephen Mule who wondered why Yeda is still in office after completing her two five-year terms as director-general.

Mule had also raised issues about payment of legal fees, running into millions of shillings by the bank where Kenya is the main shareholder. 

Mule sought to know why EADB had paid over Sh350 million in legal fees over a period of six years.

At the same time, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula had directed the committee to ask Prof Ndung’u to state reasons why EADB shareholders and particularly Kenya had not been paid any dividends during Ms Yeda’s tenure.

“State the measures being taken by the ministry to safeguard Kenyan taxpayers’ money held at EADB?” said Mule.

Kuria said the Treasury had taken the matter casually yet it was clear the issue requires attention.

“We are concerned the Treasury has taken this issue casually yet Kenyans are losing money through fictitious payments to lawyers through claims of legal fees. We are giving them until next week to explain and if they fail, we will summon them,” said Kuria.

Kuria said they had sent three letters to the CS inviting him but he failed to appear.

“We are writing to the CS to appear on May 29, to respond to the questions, failure to which we will be forced to invoke standing orders and summon him,” said Kuria.

Mule said: “People are siphoning money from the bank under the pretext of paying legal fees. The National Treasury must respond to this issue immediately.”

EADB, which is headquartered in Kampala, Uganda, was founded in 1967 under the defunct East African Community. It is owned by the governments of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Other shareholders are African Development Bank and NCBA Group, among others.

Late last year, Baringo North MP Joseph Makilap sought to have the Committee on Energy look into whether the signed agreement between Kenya Power and the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project (LTWP) plant contributed to the high cost of power during Ms Yeda’s tenure as chairperson.

“We cannot have a bank run on impunity and people holding office eternally. These shenanigans must come to an end,” said Makilap

Last year, Makilap petitioned Parliament to investigate Yeda’s role as chairperson of the Kenya Power Board, raising concerns that the electricity distributor might have been in conflict while dealing with LTWP which was co-financed by EADB.

Kenya Power paid LTWP, the second biggest supplier of electricity to Kenya Power, a sum of Sh17 billion for power that was not utilised by Kenyans.

Yeda was appointed director and chairperson of Kenya Power in 2020.