Ukur Yattani named acting Treasury CS
By Mercy Asamba
| July 24th 2019
President Uhuru Kenyatta has named Labour CS Ukur Yattani as acting Treasury Cabinet Secretary and Dr Julius Muia as his Principal Secretary. Dr Muia was the PS for planning.
In a statement, State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena said the move is to ensure smooth operations and continuity at the National Treasury.
The Head of State also appointed Torome Saitoti as the Principal Secretary for the State Department of Planning and Gordon Kihalangwa as the Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Defence.
Kihalangwa was the Immigration Principal Secretary and Saitoti the Defence Principal Secretary.
Yattani replaces Henry Rotich while Julius Muia will take Kamau Thugge’s position at the Ministry.
The two, Rotich and Thugge, are facing charges in the multibillion Arror and Kimwarer dam scandal and were released yesterday on Sh15 million cash bail after pleading not guilty to the charges.
Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti ordered that Rotich must not go near his offices unless accompanied by an investigating officer.
The restrictions put Rotich's tenure in jeopardy given the sensitive nature of his work in controlling the country’s purse strings. Together with Thugge, they sign off on payments and disbursements, as well as overseeing the budget-making process.
Ogoti’s decision signalled a steep fall for Rotich and Thugge who the prosecution claim are the masterminds of a dams’ scandal that led to the loss of Sh19.7 billion.
Their predicament is made worse by the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, which stipulates that any public officer charged with corruption stands suspended from office until the case is concluded.
Before landing the Principal secretary, The National treasury & Ministry of Planning Dr Muia was the Director-General of the Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat which operates under the Office of the President. Prior to this, he was the Secretary, National Economic and Social Council, Office of the President. Masters Degree and PhD in Finance from the University of Nairobi’s School of Business. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA-K).
Mr Yattani is a former Governor of Marsabit County, MP of North Horr. He also served as Kenya’s Permanent Representative at United Nations, Vienna. Born in 1967, Yatani received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology from Egerton University in 1991. In 2005, he joined the New York University in the UK from where he obtained a Master of Public Administration and Public Policy.
Rotich and Thugge are facing abuse of office, conspiracy to defraud among other charges.
Part of the charge sheet read, “That on April 18, 2017, being the Cabinet Secretary National Treasury and Planning, you used your office to improperly confer a benefit to CMC Di Ravenna- Itiniera joint venture by unlawfully executing a facility agreement for the funding of the development of Arror multi-purpose dam.”
Treasury PS Kamau Thugge, on the other hand, was charged with five counts of abuse of office.
One charge read, “That on May 18, 2017, used your office improperly to confer a benefit to Intensa San Paulo S.P.A, London Branch and CMC Di Ravenna-Itiniera joint venture by unlawfully approving payment of EUR 2.5 (Sh295,877,663) for the development of the Arror multi-purpose dam.”
The individuals are also accused of entering into a commercial loan facility agreement disguising it as a government to government loan guaranteed by the Italian Government.
“While knowing the tender document contained in the request for proposals for the development of the dams project was a concessional agreement where the intended concessionaire was to be the borrower and financier and not the Government of Kenya.”
(Additional reporting by Paul Ogemba)
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