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Five ministers rebel against CS Matiang’i

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Turf wars have rocked President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Cabinet following his elevation of Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to oversee all national development projects.

The Star has established that a number of CSs, some allied to Uhuru, some to DP William Ruto, are unhappy with the new arrangement which essentially makes hard-headed, results-oriented Matiang’i their boss.

Despite the disquiet, Matiang’i yesterday chaired his first meeting of six Cabinet secretaries and top political leaders from Nyanza.

The meeting reviewed an implementation plan for stalled, ongoing and new regional projects following Uhuru’s directive after his tour of Kisumu last month. The meeting was the clearest signal that political leaders may never flock to Ruto’s office again to seek development and other benefits.

Last week, Uhuru established a four-tier executive authority with Matiang’i as the head of the powerful National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee. The Cabinet subcommittee has sweeping powers and pundits say the elevation makes Matiang’i ‘Chief Minister’, greatly diminishing the Deputy President’s influence in government.

Read: Uhuru trims Ruto’s power in new order

Five of the 21 Cabinet Secretaries told the Star in confidence they were opposed to the new order and said the move is not anchored in law.

Two of the CSs are allied to Uhuru, while three are Ruto’s men.

“As per the law, we are all equal, we are all performers. How will a colleague write to us asking us to brief him on the projects we are undertaking?” one CS asked, seeking anonymity for fear of reprisal.

He went on, “Let us wait and see how this thing will roll out, but I can assure you that not all is well. There are simmering tensions seeking a vent and trump cards waiting to be played.”

Some sources said even before the President issued the Executive Order, the Interior ministry had already written to all Ministries requesting a list of all projects they were undertaking, their status, location and cost.

It’s not clear whether the cold reception impelled Uhuru to issue the Executive Order to make his directive legally binding.

Constitution Article 132 ( 3 ) gives the President powers to direct and coordinate functions of ministries and government departments.

GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE

Yesterday, however, six CSs attended the first meeting at Harambee House with Matiang’i as the chair.

In attendance were Simon Chelugui (Water), James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure), Treasury Chief Administrative Secretary Nelson Gaichuhie, Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture) and Joe Mucheru (ICT).

Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe said he was not aware of any disquiet.

He emphasised, however, that it’s the President’s prerogative to reorganise his government in any way for efficient services.

Kiraithe said inter-ministerial forums are critical since most of government projects are cut across different sectors.

“Anybody opposed to the order has little experience in government…During construction of Phase I of the standard gauge railway, the President had to supervise the work himself. That is not the work of the President,” the spokesman said.

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Under the new order, Matiang’i will report directly to Uhuru and will be deputised by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

In a separate executive order, Uhuru also transferred the management and co-ordination of the National Transport and Safety Authority to the Interior Ministry.

Read: Uhuru has made constitutional change without referendum – Moses Kuria

The NTSA is charged with motor vehicle registration and certification, among other tasks that were under the giant Transport ministry under CS James Macharia.

Some CSs have called Matiang’i ‘overbearing’, ‘abrasive’ and say at times he oversteps his mandate’.

In the Transport ministry, a senior source told the Star that resentment erupted late last year following the government decision to strictly implement tough traffic laws, known as the ‘Michuki rules’.

Matiang’i became the face of the crackdown and he made impromptu checks at roadblocks to ensure enforcement.

In June last year when the National Assembly was investigating importation of contraband sugar, Matiang’i and his then Industrialisation counterpart Adan Mohamed publicly disagreed over claims there were traces of mercury in the impounded sugar.

Matiang’i had announced that the sugar contained mercury, quoting tests from the Government Chemist. Adan rejected them.

Adan was transferred to the Ministry of East African Community.

Sources also say the Education and Transport ministries have been unhappy with Matiang’i’s heavy hand.

Discontent in the Education ministry stems from Matiang’i placing himself at the centre of the administration of national examinations, even after his exit.

The ministry of Interior had the responsibility of protecting the national examinations.

Read: Ruto never eclipsed by Matiang’i, say six MPs

DRUNK WITH POWER

Senior ministry officials also see Matiang’i’s hand in the push to roll out the new curriculum, even after CS Amina Mohamed publicly stated that the ministry and others were not ready.

Amina later made a quick about-face and announced that the project would proceed, to the dismay of education stakeholders.

Nominated MP David Sankok said the CSs “should not feel intimidated as Matiang’i is doing his work”, saying they are all still answerable to the appointing authority, the President.

“There is nothing to fear unless they are suffering from inferiority complex.The President did what he should have done in 2013 when he took over. The ole of that Ministry is clear: Interior and National Government Coordination. Therefore, they are all equal, no one is lesser,” he told the Star on the phone.

He caution Matiang’i not to be “drunk with power”, saying he is still answerable to Deputy President William Ruto under the presidency.

More: The rise and rise of ‘super minister’ Fred Matiang’i

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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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