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EACC rejects three President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nominees to cabinet

The fate of three nominees for Cabinet and Principal Secretary hangs in the balance after the anti-graft body rejected their nominations.

Malindi MP Dan Kazungu’s elevation to the Cabinet is in jeopardy after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) refused to clear him for appointment as Mining Cabinet Secretary.

EACC is also opposed to the appointment as PSs of Victor Kyalo (ICT) and Nancy Karigithu (Maritime Commerce).

The three will be among seven nominees for CS and 21 PSs who will be vetted today by various committees of the National Assembly following their nomination by President Uhuru Kenyatta on November 24.

It also emerged that other public petitions questioning the suitability of more nominees had been brought before the committees but they might escape on a technicality because they were not signed.

Hostile petitions have been submitted against the nomination of Mwangi Kiunjuri as Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary but the Committee on Appointment has rejected them because they had not been signed.

Three House committees want the EACC to appear before them today to explain its objections to the vetting and the possible approval of the nominees, first within the committee and in the House next week.

The Committee on Appointments chaired by Speaker Justin Muturi wants the EACC officers to explain why it failed to clear Kazungu. The committee will vet seven Cabinet secretaries.

Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Township), who temporarily sat on the Speaker’s chair for a two-hour meeting yesterday at Parliament Buildings, said the commission had been invited to give specifics of the allegations against the nominees to arm the committee with information to assess their suitability.

“We have set up everything in place; we have analysed all the affidavits and we are ready to proceed with the vetting. EACC will appear before the respective committees to help the committee make an informed decision on the way forward,” Duale told The Standard.

The Transport and Public Works Committee also wants the commission to explain two letters; one casting aspersions on suitability of Karigithu, and the other clearing her. Karigithu has been nominated to be the principal secretary of Maritime Commerce.

“We want to clear this confusion. That is why we want to hear from both sides. The EACC has to explain to us what these allegations are so that we make a determination,” said Maina Kamanda, the chairman of the committee.

The Committee on Energy and Communication will also require the EACC before it either approves or rejects Kyalo, the nominee for PS, ICT department.

Speaker Justin Muturi will return this morning from an official visit to Britain to preside over the vetting.

“EACC has written to us and its now upon us to deal with the cases. The committee will examine the nature of each allegation and address them on a case to case basis,” Muturi told The Standard.

“The nominees might face all manner of cases but the ultimate decision rests with the committee and the MPs at the plenary. We will vet them on merit and look at various aspects that borders on breach of the law, like professional misconduct among others,” Muturi added.

Minority Leader Francis Nyenze (Kitui West) and Deputy Minority Whip Chris Wamalwa said the committee had received five complaints against the nominees, but only one went through.

“The Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act requires that everyone who sends a memo does it under oath. There are some affidavits that came in but they were not sworn, so they were dropped, but they can form a basis for questions,” said Wamalwa, shortly after the committee meeting chaired by Duale.

Those that were rejected because they had not been sworn had sought to block the approval of Kiunjuri. They cited Kiunjuri’s controversial tenure at the Ministry of Water where he was engaged in a back and forth with the then minister over multi-million corruption allegations.

Kiunjuri said the EACC had cleared him of any wrongdoing and would be surprised if any cropped up.

“If anything comes up ahead of tomorrow’s (today) vetting, which I am not aware of, I will be glad to tackle it at the interview,” he said.

“I have been cleared by EACC unless there is something else I do not know. I have also heard the matter cropping up. As of Wednesday, I knew I was cleared and my documents are in order... I am shocked that EACC is still registering its reservations.”

Attempts by The Standard get to a comment from EACC proved futile despite making numerous calls, sending text and an email to the Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo.

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