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Uhuru’s new envoys: Rejected or delayed?

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By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Confusion has hit the posting abroad of the ambassadors vetted by Parliament last year amid a push-and-pull between the Executive and Parliament.

There are also reports that they have been rejected by the receiving countries.

But sources in the executive say the diplomats have not reported to work because President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to commission them.

The ambassadors were endorsed by the legislators although the character of some of them were called into question, with Opposition members walking out in protest.

The National Assembly Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations has held emergency meetings with senior officials in the Foreign ministry, to no avail.

“We are aware of the matter but there is little we can do,” a member of the committee said.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the committee, Mr Katoo olé Metito, said he was not aware of developments since the ambassadors were vetted, adding that their posting involves more than just the House’s approval.

“My committee vetted them based on the available documentation from authorised agencies — EACC, DCI, and KRA, among others. I am not aware of any developments after the parliamentary approval,” he told the Nation.

But Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said the ambassadors will report to their stations anytime now, dismissing claims that they had been rejected by the host countries.

“They have all been accepted and they will be going (to their stations) in the next few weeks. We are simply observing protocol and that is normal,” Mr Kamau said.

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, his PS Richard Ekai and former DCI boss Ndegwa Muhoro are among those facing uncertainty over their postings.

Dr Wario and Mr Ekai are facing charges related to the misuse of funds during the Rio Olympics. They were to serve in Austria and Russia respectively.

Dr Wario had already sent his family to Vienna, and the Austrian government had scheduled his reception for October.

But he missed the appointment since he was still in Kenya fighting to be released on bond. Mr Muhoro was posted to Malaysia as High Commissioner but is also still in the country

The procedure Mr Kamau referred to involves the President affirming and hosting the appointees to a dinner, where they are briefed on the expectations and channels of communication.

By then the Foreign Service Academy will have trained the envoys on how to conduct themselves during their tour of duty.

Hosting states also conduct independent assessments of the appointees, and can accept or reject them.

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And they are not even obliged to inform the sending state of their reasons for rejecting an appointee. In most cases, they simply delay accepting credentials.

Sources said the President might have delayed granting them official briefs to serve as ambassadors.

The documents, commonly known as credentials, are taken by the appointed envoys and given to heads of the hosting states who, once they accept them, allow the diplomats to serve as representatives of the Kenyan President, with full diplomatic immunity.

The other ambassadors affected are Benjamin Langat (Namibia), Johnson Kimani Ondiek (Turkey), Sarah Serem (China), Paddy Ahenda (Qatar), Samuel Thuita (Israel), Chris Karuba Mburu and former State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu (United Kingdom).

Mr Esipisu has reported to London but is yet to present his credentials.

Last evening, sources told the Nation that senior officials at the Ministry were jolted after Mr Muhoro was rejected.

And when Dr Wario and Mr Ekai were implicated in graft charges, some people suggested that the President withhold their appointments for a while.

“All ambassadorial appointments are made by the President, he is the only one who can change, withdraw or replace an appointee,” observed a senior diplomat who asked not to be identified, but who admitted to the difficulties in having the new envoys report to work.

At the moment, the affected embassies are being run by the senior most diplomats working there.

They may do all the work ambassadors do, like administration, hosting guests and managing staff, but they are not allowed to ride in the ambassador’s car or fly a flag on theirs.

This is not the first time diplomatic postings have run into trouble. In 2015, the President sent John Lanyasunya, then Director of Australasia Affairs, to Canada after Ottawa rejected Lucy Chelimo ostensibly because she had no diplomatic or civil service experience.

Mr Lanyasunya had initially been assigned to launch an embassy in Algiers. Instead, the President reassigned Mr Moi Lemoshira to Algeria from Zimbabwe.

Ms Chelimo, a former HR executive at DHL, was then be sent to Harare.

But the problem persisted last year after former EAC Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie was refused at the EU headquarters in Brussels. She was sent to Unicef, Paris, and was replaced with former Education CS Jacob Kaimenyi.



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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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