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Ruto and Raila intensify fight over Covid cash

Deputy President William Ruto (pictured) yesterday called on the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to unravel possible loss of millions shillings in deals relating to the fight against coronavirus.

Ruto who accused ODM of defending those involved in the saga over alleged inflated costs of vital equipment meant to fight Covid-19 by Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa), said the DCI and the DPP must work independently.

“They chastised us when we said criminal investigations should not be carried out in the media. What has changed? Kenyans want to know when did they change their position on the role of the media? They have always told us the media is independent and has a role in informing the public and over-sighting the government,” said Ruto in a series of tweets.

But ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna and Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe fired back immediately dismissing Ruto’s assertions as misplaced.

In a statement, Sifuna said ODM has never and will never defend corruption. “If the party leader or any member was culpable in the Kemsa scandal, Ruto would be falling over himself to present such evidence to the public,” he said.

He added: “In Kenya, there is only one face everyone attaches to corruption and theft. That is why we are not surprised when a discussion about theft starts and that face immediately attempts to claim a moral high ground that his character, history and profile do not match.”

Murathe said: “Ruto’s is like the story of a thief who hears there has been some theft and he was not involved in that theft and they have sour grapes. It is like some of these people are upset. What does it tell you? If you live in a glasshouse, don’t throw stones. What the Deputy President is doing is divert attention from the subject matter. What is so hard in letting authorities investigate this matter?” poses Murathe.

“The CS for health should actually tell Kenyans who these so-called mafia at Afya House are. They are not faceless characters. He should volunteer that information to the EACC.”

On Saturday, Sifuna blamed alleged sensationalised media reporting claiming it was clouding issues.

He said the Auditor General should be allowed time to investigate alleged corruption at Kemsa, a statement that provoked condemnation from political, medical and religious leaders.

On Sunday, ODM leader Raila Odinga said his proposal for a professional audit remained the best bet to handle the matter. He said he was not in any way condoning corruption.

Yesterday, Ruto wondered where ODM leaders have found the power to direct independent institutions and questioned the real motive for the “special” audit.

“Why must independent institutions wait for a special audit before they carry out their mandate?” said the DP.

He added: “They told us we should ignore what was happening at Kemsa and that there was nothing wrong with some newly registered suspect companies being awarded tenders worth billions. The Covid Billionaire heist at Kemsa is a deplorable manifestation of the worst public vice.”

He said perpetrators of the Kemsa heist are lucky they do not carry the tag “Ruto allies”, “Otherwise, they would have taken political responsibility, stepped aside, written statements, investigated, individuals arrested and hauled to court”.

“It is clear, the owners and operators of the corruption laundromat are working overtime to sanitise the Covid billionaires,” Ruto said.