Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent unusual and abrupt vanishing from public upon returning to the country from an official trip to China through Dubai was because of extreme shock on learning of provable involvement in the raging gold fraud by senior government officials.
There is emerging evidence of heavily armed policemen, including at times the use of armed officers from the elite General Service Unit to guard and protect premises used by key suspects in the gold fraud.
The cartel also hides fake gold and hold conning meetings in upmarket estates in Nairobi. Their use of VIP security chase cars, normally reserved for top government officials, puts pressure on Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i and top police bosses to come out clean.
The case of Matiang’i, though he has denied any involvement, is said to have shocked the president immensely given that he is the president’s favourite CS whom he elevated to a super minister to enhance coordination of government programmes and operations.
The puzzle about top government officers’ involvement is worsened by background checks that reveal they have been close to Zaheer Jhanda the key suspect in the Dubai prince’s swindle.
The controversial businessman-cum-politician has been operating with powerful faces most of them trusted errand boys in political and business dealings, whose operations are always secretive.
That they were doing well until the latest ugly turn of events is a case in point. In fact it is said that in the SGR Ngong land compensation in which Jhanda was battling with a local church, he had on his side a one Patrick Osero, a man close to William Ruto in land brokerage matters and whose face is common at National Land Commission and ministry of Lands at Ardhi House.
Confidential sources within the corridors of power revealed that the head of state was so struck by the scam that he had to receive medical attention including doctors’ recommended bedrest, even as he ordered the police and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to carry out a major crackdown to apprehend and prosecute all culprits. That is why Uhuru went missing in action for two weeks.
It has now emerged that Uhuru was embarrassed when confronted with official complaints from his close friends in the UAE royalty of having been swindled over Sh400 million in a fake gold scandal which turned out to involve a section in his government, the police, a former Foreign Affairs minister and scores of MPs and government officials in customs department and airport managers.
Key suspects including Jhanda and gold scams con artist Jared Otieno have been rounded up but the involvement in the fraud by legislators and other senior government officials has raised alarm in the entire government as it makes Kenya to appear like a mafia-infested state.
Remember, it came after Uhuru’s name was used to swindle Asian tycoon Naurad Merali millions of shillings by a cartel revolving around sacked cabinet minister Rashid Mohammed.
These odd gold scandals and the widespread multibillion corruption scandals with senior officials’ involvement are a true reflection of what former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga called “a bandit economy” but government political leaders then, castigated him for it.
Politicians fingered in gold frauds which are intertwined with money laundering and proliferation of fake currency scandals currently awash in Kenyan cities include celebrity politicians like outspoken Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, Saboti MP Caleb Amisi, Steve Mbogo, Wajir governor Mohammed Mahmud, Nairobi senator aspirant Paul Kobia alias Illunga, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, Nelson Koech, Starehe’s Charles Jaguar Kanyi, Kirinyaga women representative Purity Ngirici, Alfred Keter, Dan Kazungu, Don Bosco Gichana, Kazungu Kambi, CAS Danston Mung’aro and Raphael Wanjala, among others.
Attempts by the latest swindlers to rope in Raila Odinga in their last ditch coverup, but which backfired, are said to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back and lifted the veil on the scammers.
Raila has disowned the group though he is known to have interacted with them and knows key members of the fraud team: Jhanda, Gichana and Kobia among others. DP Ruto and Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka are also linked politically to the suspects. Ruto’s ally, a one advocate JK Bosek was recently caught up in a separate gold swindle.
Matiang’i blamed for Kisii plum state sackings – Weekly Citizen
The deeply rooted political division among the elected Gusii leaders and professionals from the community could dearly cost the community in the ongoing national coalition succession politics unless the two groups swallow their pride, put their political individual differences aside by jealously mooting and embracing for the unity of the community if it has to remain relevant in the next government to be formed.
Weekly Citizen has established that majority of the elected leaders mainly members of parliament, senators, governors and members of the county assemblies have split the community apart from being busy championing for their selfish and individual political ambitions and witchhunting their political rivals at the expense of the unity of the community which could propel it to get bigger positions in national politics.
While elected leaders from other communities were busy laying strategies on how to be in the next government, those from the Gusii region were busy mudslinging one another over petty individual issues, and being used by outsiders to divide the community further just for the sake of their stomachs and for handouts.
The disunity of the leaders has resulted to the senior officers working in the national government from the region being bolted out without having anyone coming out to their protection.
Some of the senior officers affected include former managing director of Kenya Ports Authority Daniel Manduku and Charles Ongwae of Kenya Bureau of Standards.
North Mugirango MP Joash Nyamoko said indeed it is true that it has become extremely impossible to unite the elected leaders when it comes to the discussions centering on unity of the community and championing for matters of national importance affecting the community because of egocentricity, jealous, mistrust and poverty among them, factors he said were detrimental to the unity, development and national politics of the community.
He particularly took issue with the Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i, governors John Nyagarama (Nyamira) and James Ongwae (Kisii) who are the leading political lights from the community, for failing to call for a leaders’ meeting geared at uniting the community.
“I want to tell some of our colleagues like Ben Momanyi (Borabu), Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South), Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West) and Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North) to stop misleading Matiang’i that some of us are against the unity of the Kisii community, and him being the community’s political kingpin when it comes to national politics” he said.
He claimed that chase for handouts from Matiangi by some of his colleagues were a stumbling block to the unity of the community arguing that should there be unity of purpose they could loss such handouts.
He also challenged Matiang’i to make use of his position just like what the ODM leader Raila Odinga is doing in making sure that he has brought and influenced development in Gusii region like what the Kisii county senator Prof Sam Ongeri did when he was a cabinet minister during the tenure of president Mwai Kibaki and the late president Daniel Moi.
CS Keter equation in Kericho politics 2022 – Weekly Citizen
The uncertainty surrounding William Ruto’s 2022 presidential ambition is complicating the political matrix in Kericho County, with voters now closely watching the body language of Energy cabinet secretary Charles Keter looking for signals on whether he will throw his hat in the gubernatorial race.
Also being watched closely is his popular and mobilizer wife, Winnie, for signals on whether she will try to wrestle the woman representative seat from Florence Koskey who secured the seat after defeating then woman representative Hellen Chepkwony in the Jubilee party primaries. At one time Winnie wanted to run for a political seat but was forced to step down with her supporters thewn openly shedding tears in public.
Indeed, the 2022 Kericho gubernatorial election is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested races in the county since the incumbent, Paul Chepkwony is remaining with only two years in office and will not be defending his seat in 2022 as per the constitutional restrictions.
Chepkwony is serving his second and final term as governor.
Keter, who served as area senator before his appointment to the cabinet in 2015, is under pressure to go for the seat. Talk on the ground being, the seat is his for the taking.
Those eyeing the governorship fearing Keter have been telling voters, if Ruto wins the presidency, Keter is likely to either land a powerful cabinet slot or be appointed State House comptroller to run Ruto’s diary.
But the political onslaught the deputy president is facing from his boss, Uhuru Kenyatta, where his allies are being purged in party and parliamentary leadership, has left many wondering whether the former Eldoret North MP will secure the ruling party’s ticket for the top job. Surprisingly, the CS is also close to Uhuru just like DP Ruto.
Besides Keter, another contender for the lucrative seat is Kericho senator, Aaron Cheruiyot, also a close ally of the deputy president.
Cheruiyot is on a mission to succeed Chepkwony if his recent moves and political manoeuvres are anything to go by.
Before the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, Cheruiyot was touring different parts of the county in the name of inspecting national government’s projects, a move which political pundits termed as early preparations for the 2022 gubernatorial race. His camp even claims, Keter was funding him to succeed Cheruiyot.
And judging by the strategies being put in place by different politicians, the county is set to experience one of the hottest political contests in 2022, and the race will be no walk in the park.
Chepkwony on his part recently appointed South Rift veteran politician Magerer Langat to the Kericho Municipal Board and the two have been appearing in public together.
This sparked rumuors that Chepkwony was planning to endorse the former Kipkelion legislator as his preferred successor.
Former National Security Social Fund boss Richard Langat, and former Kenya Ports Authority board member Fred Kirui, who both lost to Chepkwony during the Jubilee party primaries in 2017, are expected to try their luck in 2022. However, talk is rife that if the CS runs, the two will back him.
However, their entry into the race is likely to divide the votes, a move which will definitely spoil the race for other candidates.
In the 2017 Jubilee party primaries, Chepkwony cruised to victory after beating then Ainamoi MP Benjamin Langat, who came a distant fourth.
He garnered 124,698 votes while his rival, former National Social Security Fund managing trustee Richard Kirui had 33,351 votes.
Former Kenya Ports Authority board member Fred Kirui got 22,409 votes while Langat had 18,912.
Come governorship race for Kericho county, Cheruiyot, defeated Bett and former Tea Research Institute board chairman Sammy Chepkwony.
Cheruiyot garnered 99,404 votes during the election while Bett was second with 71,491 votes with Chepkwony having 32,328 votes.
CS Keter’s wife, Winnie, had announced she was readying to join the race for the woman representative’s seat.
Keter who heads the Social Economic Empowerment Women Organisation was seeking to unseat Hellen Chepkwony.
“Seewo members have been informally campaigning for me and urging me to go for the seat and after considering their requests, I hereby announce that I have since registered as a member of the Jubilee Party and I will be in the race. What I now ask is for support and prayers,” she said.
Mrs Keter made the announcement during a consultative Seewo’s meeting held in Kipkelion East constituency.
She said her candidature was motivated by the fact that South Rift women continue to lag behind in social, economic and political sphere, adding that she was well equipped to curve the graph upwards.
“My task will be to use the political platform and business connections to net resources for South Rift women. That is my dream and goal. I’m certain that if we hold each other’s hands, we will attain social, economic and political greatness,” she said.
But days later a wave of confusion hit the county political scene after Keter publicly asked his wife to withdraw her candidature for the Kericho woman representative seat.
The pronouncement by Keter came as a relief to those who felt that Winnie’s decision to contest the seat was an effort by the influential minister to maintain his grip on South Rift politics.
But it was also a slap on the face of thousands of women and supporters in Kericho county who felt that Mrs Keter would offer new solutions to problems facing them, and were betting on her to win the election.
On her part, Mrs Keter asked the residents to understand her husband’s decision not to support her because it had invoked unnecessary political tension in the county, adding that the family had reached an agreement to have her shelve her aspiration.
But other women led by then public service, youth and gender Affairs cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki, now sanitation CS, criticised the withdrawal, arguing women who want to seek political positions should be supported, not discouraged or pulled down.
But Keter in urging his wife to pull out of the race was avoiding a scenario the County found itself in 2015 following a vicious political campaign after his appointment as Energy Cabinet Secretary.
Succession wars at ailing Kenya-Re – Weekly Citizen
Trouble is looming at Kenya Reinsurance Corporation (Kenya Re) board of directors after American rating agency AM Best downgraded the long term issue credit rating (L-Term ICR) to negative from previous stable.
Industry players report reveals Kenya-Re’s poor technical and management in recent years. The report shows Kenya Re as being weak compared to regional competitors.
In 2019, the firm reported non-life underwriting loss of Sh2.6 billion while in 2018, the loss was Sh1.1 billion.
Ever since the report was released, a section of the board has taken issue with chief executive officer Jadiah Mwarania. In March, 12 2018, Kenya Re board under then boardchairman David Kimei terminated Mwarania contract that was to end in April 21 2021.
The matter moved Employment and Labour Relations Court. The court ruled that the matter be settled out of court. The CEO wanted the court to restrain Kenya-Re from enforcing its letter that sought to terminate his contract.
In the case, Mwarania had argued to be still in office up to April 21 2021.
His contract had been renewed in 2016 for a period of five years and the insurance company terminated the contract in total violation of his constitutional rights.
Mwirania joined the company in 1990 in the position of Managing Trustee and was subsequently promoted through various ranks before he rose to the position managing director in 2012.
“In June 2017, I received a directive from Joseph Kinyua Chief of Staff and head of Public Service regarding appointments to the board and in compliance with the aforesaid directive appointments, I did undertake all that was required,” reads part of the affidavit.
In its response filed in court, Kenya-Re claims that prior to the termination, various concerns had been raised on the managing director’s shortcomings, and the same was not adequately addressed by Mwarania.
“They said concerns were not only based on internal observations but also on independent reports by external sources,” then Kenya-Re board chairman David Kimei stated.
Kimei further stated that Mwarania did not address the weaknesses leading to the downgrading of the corporation’s rating from a B plus to B plain.
He says that the downgrading meant that the corporation had moved from a re-insurer that had a good ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations to one that is vulnerable. The same negative report has also been reported by the American firm questioning the competence of current managers.
The court ruled in favour of Mwarania and is now in office with a new team of directors. The chairman is Chiboli Shakaba. Kemei is non-executive director together with Thamuda Hassan, Jasper Mugambi, Anthony Munyao, Felix Oketch, Maina Mukuma, Erick Gumbo, Jennifer Karina and Charles Kariuki, the co-operation’s secretary.
Insiders say that the CEO has perfected the art of protecting his contract that ends in 2021 by planting his henchmen in strategic positions. Two acting positions are being held by his tribesmen raising eyebrows. They are acting manager, business department Longin Nterere with Sylvi Karimi, acting manager corporate affairs department.
Sources say the CEO does not get on well with senior managers who he believes were lobbying to get his post when the contract was terminated.
Michael Mbeshi, general manager property and administration was being groomed by Kimei to take over as CEO.
Nicodemus Gekone (manager investments department) together with Martin Mati (manager research and development) are viewed suspiciously by the CEO. The duo are said to have been unhappy with his return as the top man at Kenya-Re John Rika (property) is also on the list.
Other managers are Beth Nyaga (operations), Jacqueline Njui (finance and investment), Arthur Levry (West Africa region), Suleiman Tembo (Zambia region), Tadeo Nsubuga (Uganda), Johnson Ireri (internal audit), George Njuguna (ICT), Gladys Musyoki (supply chain), Sammy Kaaria (risk), Sally Waigumo (human), Elizabeth Omondi (business), Alice Mbuyu (claims), Peter Angwenyi (office co-ordination), Teresia Kenya (life business), Jane Odipo (marketing) Philip Sanda (actuary), Judy Njuguna (archives), Consolata Kihara (safety), Samson Mudogo (chief account), Hilary Wachinga (credit), Mumut Ole Sialo (Zambia), and Lucy Kagwiria (West Africa).
Weekly Citizen has information the CEO is grooming Njui, manager investments and finance to take over as CEO, further complicating matters at the ailing institution.
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