Ruto's ambassador nominees declare over Sh1 billion wealth


Ambassadorial nominees Catherine Kirumba Karemu and Caroline Kamende Daudi during their vetting. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

President William Ruto’s ambassadorial nominees on Friday pledged to boost trade between Kenya and their missions even as it emerged that six of the eight vetted within the two-day window period have a combined net worth of Sh1.53 billion.

The National Assembly’s Defence and International relations committee yesterday entered its second day vetting the nominees where the candidates appeared to defend their suitability for office and give a blueprint of how they were to navigate their new roles should the House give them a nod.

The Belgut MP Nelson Koech-led committee centered its questions on how Kenya would enter into a trade balance with the missions, with Former Kisumu Senator Fred Outa- who was nominated as Kenyan ambassador to Cairo, Egypt, -  being tasked with explaining how he would strengthen relations between the two countries.

Outa who is worth Sh290 million submitted that he would rely on the increased import of agricultural products which will also help create employment.

 “Egypt is a strategic partner to us and it is crucial to enhance our bilateral trade. As an agricultural country, we have our tea being exported in Cairo and that will be my interest,” he said.

His past also momentarily came back to haunt him as the MPs also asked the former lawmaker to clarify allegations on whether he incited violence in in 2017.

 “In 2017 you were charged in courts for incitement to violence. Do you have regrets and how will you maintain the highest diplomatic standards if approved as our ambassador in Cairo?” posed Shinyalu MP Fred Ekana.

Outa was however quick to note that the charges against him had been withdrawn and that he had been acquitted of the charges.

He was further questioned on the tension between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam constructed along the river Nile and how the country could intervene in the situation.

To which he answered, “We as a nation if you look at our foreign policy, our main objective is to promote peace within our region, and globally. This will be my fundamental mandate if approved and I will take the Kenyan stand on the current situation.”

When ex-Kenya Army Commander Lt. General (Rtd) Peter Mbogo Njiru was questioned on his suitability as Kenya’s ambassador to Pakistan, the demise of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif came up.

The committee sought to know how, if ever, he would investigate the scribe’s death.

“We have very competent institutions and should the matter be brought to my table I will bank on the expertise of the investigative institutions and that of the Attorney General who after investigations can advise on how I should proceed to handle the matter,” said Mbogo.

He also submitted that he had been in military service for 39 years and banked on his experience in the army to strengthen the diplomacy ties between Kenya and Pakistan.

“We as a country have signed numerous memoranda of understanding (MoU) between Pakistan and Kenya regarding security as well as aspects of peacekeeping. We collaborate a lot in terms of training and Pakistan being an advanced military country allows us to know what to do regarding security,” he said.

Timothy Kaluma Mcharo who is nominated to the ambassadorial post in Algiers, Algeria and worth Sh71 million promised to boost the trade relations between Kenya and Algiers.

“There is currently no formal trade agreement between Kenya and Algeria. Mine is to ensure that we have a formal framework where we will be able to increase our trade volumes,” said kaluma.

This, after Baringo central MP Joshua Kandie sought to know how the nominee would increase Kenya’s export revenues to Algeria to as much as Sh100 million.

My net worth is Sh690m, former Kisii DG Joash Maangi reveals

The nominee with 27 years’ experience in public service was also taken to task over his accomplishments and what he had to offer should he clinch the job.

“I have over the years provided analysis that has led to policy change which when implemented will change the lives of Kenyans and this economy,” submitted kaluma.

He also spoke to the issue of the rampant international migration between Algeria and Morocco to Europe and vowed to ensure that if any Kenyan found themselves in that position, he would ensure they were not mistreated.

“My role is to take care of Kenyans. I will work with any government to ensure their rights are safeguarded,” he said.

Former Bomet Senator Christopher Langat who will be the inaugural Cote d’ Ivoire ambassador submitted that once approved by lawmakers he will focus on improving the trade relation “which are on the negative.”

He said he would embark on the setting up of diplomatic structures with the help of the Abijan administration and commence on the bilateral relations.

At the same time, a spot check by The Saturday Standard has established that six of the eight ambassadorial nominees are worth Sh1.53 billion collectively. The figure is however not inclusive of the networth of two nominees, Chief of Defence Forces Lt General Jonah Mwangi and former LSK vice chairperson Caroline Kamende Daudi, who failed to disclose the same.

Former Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi who appeared before the House team on Thursday is worth Sh693 million which he said was enabled by his business investments that bring him Sh800 million to Sh900 million monthly.

He also confessed to having houses in Kisii, Nairobi and the state of Minnesota in the USA.

Fred Ouda on his part also submitted that he was worth Sh280 million and proceeded to describe himself as a rice farmer and a “hustler” who was also a health management specialist.