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Kirinyaga Governor put to task over purchase of embassy

Former Charge D’Affairs at the Kenyan embassy in Tokyo Allan Waweru Mburu, former Deputy Director of Administration Anthony Mwaniki Muchiri and former Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi at the Milimani Law Courts Monday. [PHOTO: FIDELIS KABUNYI/ STANDARD]

NAIROBI, KENYA: Kirinyaga Governor Joseph Ndathi told a Nairobi court that he could only take responsibility for letters he drafted, signed and released over the purchase of the Tokyo embassy.

Ndathi, the then director of administration alleged that senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials took advantage of him as the chairman of the Ministerial Tender Committee (MTC) as he was new in the ministry and went ahead to purchase the Tokyo property.

"I required time to understand how the ministry operated and by extension, I needed to acclimatise myself with the planned purchase. I even warned my deputy to take caution before signing any document," the governor said.

Ndathi, who testified at the trial of former Foreign Affairs PS Thuita Mwangi, former ambassador Anthony Muchiri and Allan Mburu, the Charge d'Affairs at the Tokyo Embassy, informed Senior Principal Magistrate Doreen Mulekyo that all decisions of the MTC were forwarded to the PS for implementation.

Ndathi sought to distance himself from allegations by the defence that the reason he was not privy to the planned purchase was that he was transferred from the Ministry of Immigration on disciplinary grounds over the Artur brothers' saga.

"I can confirm to this court that my transfer was normal and had nothing to do with the Artur brothers and in the event that I was implicated, I was supposed to have been suspended and not transferred," he said.

The governor said he appeared before a parliamentary committee that cleared him of any wrong-doing when he served as director of Immigration at the ministry.

The governor said the former permanent secretary put in place operational systems that ensured all decisions made by the MTC were forwarded to his office for approval or disapproval.

"The decisions made by the MTC were final but in a situation where concurrence of the PS was required then my hands were tied," Ndathi said. He said he was informed by Muchiri that the Treasury had allocated funds for the Tokyo property in January but a letter confirming the same was tabled before the MTC in March 2009.

However, Ndathi was put to task by Muchiri's lawyer Wilfred Nderitu to explain why he should not take responsibility since his committee approved the purchase of the property.