Davis Chirchir left the energy ministry in controversial circumstances in 2015 after serving as Cabinet Secretary for only two years but is now likely to return there.
Before President William Ruto nominated him as a CS for Energy, he was one of the most conspicuous politicians at State House functions.
The nomination, therefore, did not come as a surprise, given that it is Ruto who even proposed his appointment to the same position in the Jubilee government Cabinet after the 2013 elections.
He was Ruto’s pick when President Uhuru Kenyatta and then Deputy President Ruto, reportedly struck a deal to share Cabinet slots on a 50-50 basis.
The 62-year-old IT expert was among the founder members of Ruto’s now-defunct United Republican Party together with former Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter.
When URP was founded in 2012, President Ruto was listed as its leader, Keter as the founder, and Chirchir as the secretary general.
Chirchir was not widely known till his 2013 appointment as CS of Energy and Petroleum. Barely two years down the line, the IT expert found himself under probe by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
He was suspended from office in March 2015 alongside Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Michael Kamau (Transport), and Kazungu Kambi (Labour).
Stay informed. Subscribe to our newsletter
EACC was investigating allegations that a company named Windward Trading Limited was formed to receive money from the award of contracts between Kenya Power and foreign companies.
The commission later asked the then Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko to close a file on investigations that linked Chirchir and Kenya Power managing director Ben Chumo to corruption.
He had also been cleared in a case where there were claims of an attempt to influence the award of Kenya Pipeline Company tender worth 500 million dollars to Sinopec instead of Zakhem company.
Chirchir holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from the Royal Holloway University in London, UK. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and Physics from the University of Nairobi.
He previously worked at the Kenya Posts in mid-level positions and rose to the post of general manager and later served in Telekom Kenya.
In 2009, he was appointed as a commissioner of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) which was chaired by Andrew Ligale after the electoral commission was disbanded.
Prior to his leaving the CS position in 2015, Opposition leaders pushed for his sacking.
“Chirchir being a public officer is bound by Chapter Six of the Constitution (on Leadership and Integrity) and the Public Officers Ethics Act and should therefore be beyond reproach,” said Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi at the time. “He has not seen the need to step aside and clear his name.”
The MPs were reacting to allegations raised by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office alleging that Sh50 million of taxpayers’ money had been squandered in procurement deals.
Chirchir denied any wrongdoing and termed the filing by the UK prosecutors as mere allegations but was dropped from Cabinet in March 2015. His name would again be on Opposition leaders’ lips after the 2017 polls.
After this year’s presidential election, Chirchir’s name popped up in the petition filed by Azimio leaders Raila Odinga and Martha Karua over his role in the poll.
He denied allegations by the petitioners’ legal team that he breached the IEBC system with the help of foreign actors to manipulate the August 9 presidential results.
He swore an affidavit to deny the claims that were filed as part of the presidential petition at the Supreme Court.
“I can confirm that neither I, nor my staff, were involved in accessing, entering, or manipulating the IEBC entries,” he said in his replying affidavit. “To my knowledge, there was no such tallying system which received data or images from the Kiems Kits, manipulated it, or uploaded it to the IEBC system.”
Before the elections, Chirchir was serving as the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy President. Ruto had appointed him to that position in March this year following the death of Ken Osinde.