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Military procurements a hive of corruption, MPs claim

POLITICS
By | January 19th 2011

Parliament reopened with MPs turning the heat on Government over secretive military procurements, which they claimed were riddled with corruption.

The circumstances under which senior officers exited the military caused uproar, with members alleging the departures were linked to questionable arms deal.

Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchellah, himself a retired military officer, claimed the five senior soldiers were forced out to cover up for suspect deals involving fighter jets, armoured carriers and naval ships.

But Defence Minister Yusuf Hajji maintained the officers had retired voluntarily, and their departure had nothing to do with procurement of any military hardware.

Nyakach MP Pollyns Ochieng had asked the minister to explain whether there was a correlation between the premature retirements and the procurement of F5 fighter jets from Jordan, "which had failed to take off from the ground".

Ochieng also cited the procurement of 42 AMR Parhard Light Armoured Cars supplied by an Israeli firm, APC, single-sourced from a South African company and two naval ships — KN Nyayo and KN Umoja from Financantieri of La Special based in Italy.

Hajji said the transactions were done above board and the Government got value for money. On the reason for the officers’ departures he added: "The officers retired voluntarily. If they opted to retire, we had no reason to refuse to let them go."

The officers are Major-General Enock Sasia, Brig Arthur Owuor, Col Joseph Ojwang’, Lt Col Rono and Lt Col Machasiu.

-—Reports by Martin Mutua and Alex Ndegwa

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