Don’t call me when Kinoti comes for you, says Uhuru

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 17:28 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta

Harrison Kivisu and Kirera Mwiti

President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned senior government officials and businessmen implicated in corruption not to expect help or intervention from him.

The President said people arrested over corruption should not bother calling him when the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and his Directorate of Criminal Investigations counterpart George Kinoti strike.

Speaking in Mombasa when he flagged off Kenya’s first oil shipment of 200,000 barrels yesterday, the Head of State put Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) officials on the spot over corruption and warned of imminent arrests and prosecution over the Sh40 billion Kipevu oil Terminal scandal.

“You will just read in the newspapers that someone has been picked up by detectives. It is upon everyone to think over their actions. The culture of calling for help is no more, it will be upon you to defend yourself,” the President said.

He further warned: “Ni noma, hizo simu zilizimwa zamani (Things are thick. My phones were switched off a long time ago).

A tough-talking President warned senior public officials and businessmen that Haji and Kinoti were on a serious mission to crackdown on corruption.


Top KPA officials including managing director Daniel Manduku and his predecessor Catherine Muturi, were early this year grilled over the Kipevu contract, said to have been marred with malpractices. (See separate story).

The President issued the strong warning as Haji disclosed that two Cabinet Secretaries and several former and current senior Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) managers are on his radar over graft.

Speaking in Naivasha yesterday, the DPP said the two CSs were being investigated over the Sh28 billion Itare dam scandal while KRA officials could find themselves in trouble for aiding companies evade tax worth tens of billions of shillings.

Sources said at least 70 former and serving KRA managers have been profiled by investigating agencies over-involvement in tax fraud.

Though Haji did not mention names, sources at the DCI said officers were treating CSs Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution), Simon Chelugui (Water), and Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture), as persons of interest.

Haji said it was a matter of time before the KRA managers were arrested after probe incriminated them in tax losses.

This comes in the wake of the arrest of billionaire Humphery Kariuki and the proprietors of Keroche Breweries, Tabitha Karanja and Joseph Karanja, over tax evasion allegations.

The DPP noted that some of the KRA staff were working in cahoots with local and international investors to evade tax, adding that their days were numbered.

Haji said tax evaders were taking advantage of the ineffective and slow process of the KRA tribunal to recover taxes adding that this would be reviewed.

“We shall not spare anyone, be it a local or international investor, in the war against corruption and tax evasion,” he said.

Claims denied

On the Itare Dam project in Nakuru County, the DPP said: “We have lined up two CSs for questioning over the dam just like we did in Kimwarer and Arror dams and we shall make a decision once we are done with the investigations.”

Last evening, Wamalwa who was the CS  Water and Irrigation when Itare dam was launched, absolved himself from blame, saying the project experienced problems long after he had left the ministry.

“It is true that I recorded statements with the DCI, but that was in connection to the Arror and Kimwarer dams. On the Itare one, I told them the project ran into problems after I had left the ministry. I had nothing to do with it,”  said Wamalwa.

Wamalwa took over from Kiunjuri as Devolution CS before the project was moved to Chelugui’s Water docket.

The two and Wamalwa were questioned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations officers in March.

When he appeared at DCI headquarters, Kiunjuri attributed his woes to a political witch hunt. “I have been co-operating with investigators and I have nothing to conceal,” Kiunjuri said after he was interrogated at Mazingira House.

Witch hunt

He reportedly told detectives he was not aware the ministry’s boardroom at Treasury Building was used to hold meetings over the dams while he was Devolution CS.

Chelugui has consistently denied that any money was lost in the Itare project.

He says the remaining works at the dam would be assigned to another contractor since the Italian firm that won the tender is bankrupt.

“We had a first option to allow CMC di Ravenna to continue under the current contractor and another of terminating it altogether. But a viable option has been found considering the restrictive conditions of the contract signed between the government and the current contractor,” he told a news conference in March.

Investigations have established that the bankrupt Italian firm was awarded the contract before filing for bankruptcy in Italy. 

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