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Ruto ally wants Senate scrapped

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A Jubilee MP allied to Deputy President William Ruto has proposed that the Senate be abolished and the positions of Nominated MP and MCA scrapped.

If adopted, Caleb Kositany’s radical proposal would occasion a constitutional amendment through a referendum ahead of the 2022 polls.

In a later to National Assembly Speaker dated September 17, Kositany says the positions cost the public over Sh3 billion annually, “which constitutes a heavy burden to the taxpayer.”

He does not mention the 349-strong National Assembly, where he is a member.

Kositany has asked Muturi to direct the legal service directorate to assist him in formulating the bill.

“We have to think in the long-term and I would want anyone else to challenge me. What does the Senate do that is so special that cannot be done by the National Assembly? I don’t see any reason why we should have the Senate overburden taxpayers,” he said.

Read: Reduce counties and number of MPs to curb rising wage bill, says religious group

The MP whose Soy constituency borders Ruto’s Turbo in Uasin Gishu however told the Star that his proposal has nothing to do with the 2022 politics and was purely motivated by a desire to trim the huge wage bill.

“I have not even spoken to the Deputy President about it. I have only spoken to the people of Soy. The Deputy President has nothing to do with my bill at all,” he told the Star yesterday.

Kositany is one of Ruto’s close associates who often conducts political missions on his behalf.

However, last evening, the Ruto’s communications director David Mugonyi said the DP speaks for himself and should not be dragged into the initiatives of other individuals.

“Kositany is an MP and he speaks for himself. As you are aware, the DP has said he speaks for himself. We have to stop this notion that whenever an MP from Rift Valley speaks, he is an ally or speaks for the DP,” Mugonyi said.

“Above all, interrogate his proposal — Is it feasible or just hot air? That calls for change of the constitution. What is the DP’s stand on the same? His view on the referendum is clear,” he added.

More: Aukot wants woman rep post abolished, MPs reduced to 194

OPPOSED

Ruto’s supporters vehemently opposed a proposal for a referendum by Nasa’s Raila Odinga, with the DP derisively dismissing its advocates as “lazy and incompetent” politicians.

While addressing the devolution conference in April, Raila had proposed a parliamentary system of government with a three a three-tier devolved structure comprising 14 administrative regions.

In May, Ruto shot back: “Lazy and incompetent people who don’t want to work hard, and incompetent people who can’t formulate programmes, and those who lose elections want to use the Constitution as their bogeyman.”

The DP’s allies then went on the warpath discrediting calls for a referendum as a ploy by some politicians (read Raila) to get to power through other means after failing to win elections.

Since March 9 truce between Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto’s supporters have remained suspicious of the handshake christened the Building Bridges Initiative.

The 14-member steering committee formed thereafter is expected to recommend broad changes to the structure of governance and the law ahead of the 2022 presidential elections.

Yesterday, Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka said Kositany’s proposal should await the recommendations from the handshake taskforce.

“The Senate subject is quite a big issue and I am quite sure it is a constitutional issue. I urge Kositany to wait for the building bridges initiative so that it is brought on board,” said Kalonzo.

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Read also: MPs want House size cut to reduce wage bill

HEAVY BURDEN

In his notification to the speaker that came smack in the middle of the raging taxation debate, Kositany says the object of the Bill is to “reduce the cost of representation to the public, reduce the public wage bill and promote prudent use of public funds.”

He also wants to axe the 47 women representatives whom he said should be encouraged to compete with men for elective office.

“The other issue is nominated MCA’s. They are so many. Like in my Uasin Gishu county, we have 30 elected and 17 nominated. The quorum for the county to sit is 15. This means that 15 unelected people can sit and pass something that would be binding to the electorate who did not vote for them.”

Kenya has about 770 nominated MCA’s and 1450 elected ones across the country. Each MCA has a personal assistant. Each MP also has constituency manager besides their PA.But Kositany’s proposal triggered instant resistance from a section of nominated legislators and experts who rubbished it as a publicity stunt.

Former Transitional Authority chairman Kinuthia Wa Mwangi said those pushing for the abolition of the Senate have little or no understanding of devolved systems of governance.

“The framers of the Constitution were not wrong when they created Senate as a protector of the devolved system of government. You shudder when you hear of plans or plans to scrap the counties’ first line of defence. Its just like removing a life support for the units,” he said.

Ford Kenya nominated MP Nasir Ibrahim said the proposal would be retrogressive and a clawback on the strides Kenya has made in democracy.“It is unfortunate that in this era someone can talk about doing away with nominated seats and the senate as provide for in the Constitution. I don’t see the scrapping of these positions drastically reducing the wage bill,” Ibrahim said.

Laikipia Senator John Kinyua said Kenya was indeed over-represented but dismissed the idea of scrapping the Senate as wishful thinking because the house has played its cardinal role as the defender of counties.

According to Kinyua, Kenya should scrap some constituencies and reduce the counties from 47 to just 14.

“Let us be realistic and improve on what the Constitution provides. We need to significantly adjust the system of governance to ensure we bring down the wage bill,” said Kinyua.

To deal with the country’s financial crisis, the lawmaker challenged the executive to deal firmly with corruption and plough the resources recovered to the economy.

STRENGTH

Currently the National Assembly has 290 elected members, 47 women elected from each of the 47 counties and12 members nominated to represent women, youth and the marginalised.

These add up to 349 members

The Senate is comprised of 67 members — 47 elected senators from each county, 16 women nominated for gender balance and four representatives of the youth and people with disabilities.

It is not the first time a petition to amend the constitution and change the structure of governance or representation has been moved. In February, Tiaty (Kanu) MP Kassait Kamket proposed amendments to the Constitution to introduce the positions of prime minister, two deputies and retain a ceremonial president as Head of State.

The proposal is pending before the budget committee for costing to determine the impact of the changes.

See also: How many MPs do you need to make law?

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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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