National Intelligent Service (NIS) nominee Noordin Haji when he appeared for the vetting at County Hall, Parliament on May 30, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Two National Assembly committees have given the nod for the appointment of Noordin Haji as the National Intelligence Service Director General and Kamau Thugge as Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya.

The National Assembly resumed its plenary sittings on Tuesday after a month-long recess, ready to tackle it’s overflowing in-tray that encompasses the debate of the Finance Bill, 2023.

The Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning and the Defense and Foreign Relations Committee tabled their reports on the considerations of the nominees for their respective positions and called on the House to adopt the same.

Chairpersons Kimani Kuria and Nelson Koech gave their notices of motions, simultaneously noting that the respective committees had found the duo suitable to hold the dockets they were nominated to by President William Ruto.

“Taking into consideration the findings of the departmental committee of finance and national planning on its report of vetting of a nominee for the position of CBK governor laid on the table of the house this Tuesday, I urge that this House approves the appointment of Kamau Thugge as the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya,” stated Kuria.

The House is now expected to debate the reports of the committees and either approve or reject the same within seven days.

During his vetting, Thugge promised to revamp the banking sector through consolidation. This, he said, reduces the risk of weak banks collapsing while strengthening the merged units to be able to compete more effectively.

The industry has over 40 banks, some of which he said are weak and better off merging with the stronger bigger lenders. The former IMF economist explained that instead of having many banks, he would focus on a few strong banks with the capability to compete not just in Kenya but in the region.

Thugge, who said he’s worth Sh450 million, rooted for the floating of a dollar-denominated bond to increase the liquidity of the greenback in the market.

"It looks like there are a lot of foreign exchange deposits within the banking sector… One of the things I would like to explore with the National Treasury is the issuance of a dollar-denominated bond and selling it locally,” he said.

“If we can get those Kenyans holding dollars in their bank accounts to buy into the bond, we will have the possibility of increasing the liquidity of dollars in the system but also increase foreign exchange reserves at CBK,” he added.

Haji, on his part, pledged to transform NIS to advance its capabilities to provide accurate, timely, relevant and actionable intelligence which can be converted into evidence that can win court cases. He also said under his watch, he would guide the country into a paradigm shift where security agencies would annihilate religious extremism of any kind and source.

The Director of Public Prosecutions was also put to task over his decision to withdraw court cases but defended his decision saying this was evidence that he would stand firm at NIS, and refuse to be coerced.

“…most withdrawals were occasioned by instances of doctored evidence from the investigating agencies which emerged late in the day,” he stated.

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