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Lawmakers quiz Chiloba Sh800m wealth as Githinji fails to explain lack of ambition

Los Angeles Consular-General Nominee Ezra Chiloba during his vetting process before the National Assembly Defence, Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committee at County Hall, Nairobi on April 11, 2024 [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) CEO Ezra Chiloba was on Thursday put on the spot over his Sh800 million wealth declaration, and controversial exits from job appointments.

The National Assembly’s Defense and International Relations Committee, Chiloba was asked to explain his source of wealth, with the MPs seeking to know how he had amassed the multi-millions shillings worth at the age of 46. The House team also sought to know why “scandals” and claims of financial impropriety seemingly followed him from one job to another.

Chiloba was being vetted for the Los Angeles consular-general position. In the afternoon, Charles Githinji Keiru, a nominee for the Goma, DRC Consul General position was also questioned by the committee.

The committee quickly expressed concerns about his suitability for the position, noting that he failed to display key competencies required for the position. 

Trouble began after the MPs established that the nominee’s highest level of education was a Form Four certificate and sought to know what diplomatic experience he had, if any.

Githinji, a petrol station owner, would however admit that he had no prior experience.

“Should this committee approve me I will endeavor to go to school and learn about this position as much as possible,” said Githinji.

This, after Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan pokes holes in his suitability for the role.

“ It is very disappointing that you did extremely nothing including filling in the document. It is becoming extremely difficult to interview you because you lack the information.  I wish you even consulted someone on how to respond to such questions,” said Belgut MP Nelson Koech.

Discrepancies in his net worth also arose after he declared he was worth Sh19 million but had indicated Sh9 million on his declaration form submitted to the committee. 

“There are some doubts about you. From what you have presented, you have never worked in the private sector. Meaning you have been in the public sector all your life yet you have an enormous Sh800 million in wealth. Can you explain that?” posed Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hasan.

The legislator further questioned Chiloba’s resume.

“From your CV, you are restless. It shows you serve for a few years and at times even months then leave for another job. Can we really trust that you will stay should you be appointed for this job?”

Chiloba explained that his multi-million net worth was thanks to his fixed assets and ventures in agribusiness. He told the committee that he engages in consultancy services and derives a salary from formal employment.

“I have been very fortunate Mr chair because I started working while still in school in 2001.  Currently, I engage in agri-business and I plant and sell avocados in my farm in Kitale. Over the years, I have also been able to save money derived from formal employment and my consultancy business,” said Chiloba.

Baringo Central MP Joshua Kandie cited Chiloba’s controversial exits from IEBC and at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).  Chiloba had twice been suspended from IEBC with his then boss Wafula Chebukati citing procurement malpractices ahead of the August and October 2017 general elections.

During his reign at CA, Chiloba was accused of the alleged mismanagement of staff mortgages at the authority. He was subject to a 2023 internal audit where he and nine other top officials at the authority were said to have not followed due process in approving staff mortgages.

Kandie consequently sought to know why Chiloba seemed to court trouble wherever he went.

“I am afraid that this gentleman will go to Los Angeles and give us another scandal,” said Kandie.

To which Chiloba answered, “When I served at IEBC, I did my best to turn it around but focus has always been on what went wrong. There is a lot I did at the commission that even contributed to the prosperity of last year’s elections.”

Speaking on his woes at CA, he told the committee he had been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) which was looking into the matter.

The committee will retreat from today to consider the nominees submissions and commence their report writing.

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