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House to censure Kimunya over De La Rue deal

NEWS
By - | August 29th 2012

By Martin Mutua

Parliament is this afternoon set to censure Transport minister Amos Kimunya as members embark on the debate of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the money printing scam.

Also tied to him on the hip in this latest Sh1.8 billion De La Rue money printing payment query, just like was the case with the controversial sale of Grand Regency Hotel to the Libyan government is Central Bank of Kenya Governor Njuguna Ndung’u.

The report to be moved by PAC chairman and Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale recommends Kimunya be surcharged for transactions the House teams say Kenyans lost the money.

Debate on the report was put back to allow Parliament to conclude six Bills meant for the implementation of the Constitution that had a deadline of last Friday.

O Tuesday, deputy Speaker Farah Maalim ruled that debate on the report be the only business in the House this afternoon after Khalwale stood on a point of order to complain it had been relegated to the last business on the order paper.

Khalwale, who stood after question time, pleaded with the Deputy Speaker to use his powers under standing orders number 36 and redirect that the PAC report be brought forward as a matter of urgency.

Tender

Khalwale tabled a letter from the Treasury PS Joseph Kinyua expressing concern in the delay in concluding the matter, saying it was affecting the printing of new currency yet the ones in the market were dirty and mutilated.

Khalwale further said the practice in the Commonwealth and traditions of the House were that such a report needed to be disposed of urgently.

He noted the particular report was as a result of a directive by the Speaker.  MPs John Mbadi, Julius Kones, Adan Keynan, Charles Kilonzo and Martha Karua supported him.

Finance Minister Njeru Githae was the only one in opposition but was overruled. The current report follows another debacle that caused public outrage after Kimunya, who was appointed to the Transport docket after spending time in the cold could hardly wait before he made highly tribalised appointments at the Kenya Ports Authority’s board.

The appointments were said to favour members of his Mt Kenya community in total disregard of the ethnic balance in appointments to high offices. Kimunya is also on the spot over a Sh56 billion tender for the expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) that saw Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) managing director Stephen Gichuki suspended by the board to make way for investigation.

Three Parliamentary committees are currently probing the scandal following a directive by the Speaker and are due to also table their report next week. According to the PAC report, Kimunya misled the committee that President Kibaki had told him to tell CBK not to launch new generation bank notes in an election year.

But acting former CBK Governor Jacinta Mwatela, who met Kibaki on January 11, 2007, is said to have raised the issue with the Head of State.

“The President, however, denied having ever told Kimunya to tell CBK not to launch new generation currency in an election year.

In his wording, the President said “hapana sikusema” (no, I did not authorise that), adds the report.

Termination

A fortnight ago, Kimunya rejected a move to have the report tabled for debate in the House when he chaired a meeting of the powerful House Business Committee, arguing he needed time to consult with the Cabinet and the Speaker.

However, this was against National Assembly Clerk Patrick Gichohi who had advised such a report needed to be dispensed by the House expeditiously in accordance with Parliamentary practice and tradition.

Kimunya, who is no stranger to controversies in his Cabinet portfolio, starting off with his 2003 declaration as Lands minister that title deeds were mere pieces of paper, is on a spot over claims he facilitated suspect money printing deals through which the taxpayer lost Sh1.8 billion.

PAC has recommended the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission investigate Kimunya and Ndung’u over the cancellation in 2006 of a cheaper long-term contract in favour of expensive single-sourced multiple interim orders to print Kenyan currency. PAC has further recommended their removal from office saying they are “not fit to hold public office” following their conduct in the deal.

PAC has also called for the termination of the appointment of Ndung’u and a tribunal set up by the President to investigate his conduct over the deal for the supply of 1.71 billion pieces of banknotes.

 


 

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