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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 30 November 2014

SHARKS WANT CBK BOSS OUT TO FEAST ON SH25B NEW CURRENCY TENDER

Unscrupulous businessmen, political wheelerdealers and power brokers in the corridors of power are said to be burning the midnight oil plotting how to hound out of office Central Bank of Kenya governor Njuguna Ndungu before the expiry of his tenure.
According to high value sources, the bone of contention is the mouth-watering Sh25 billion tender for printing of new currency notes.
The team planning to topple Njuguna is the same that was opposed to renewal of his term by then president Mwai Kibaki.
Ndung’u was first appointed CBK governor on March 4 2007 after serving as director of training at the African Economic Research Consortium, where he had been a researcher.
But it is emerging that local politically connected cartels and foreign multinationals are locked in a vicious battle to ensure Ndungu leaves office prematurely before the tender reaches the final stage. Already, two firms from France and Britain have tendered.
The cartel is now said to be again lobbying within the corridors of the Treasury to have the budgetary allocation for the contract increased. It is claimed that one cartel is canvassing to have the tender awarded to the French firm and to have the contract increased to Sh34.5 billion. The lobbying is so intense that the contract has created animosity so much so that some officers no longer see eye to eye.
The plan was first hatched when Njuguna was fixed in the Sh1billion security tender, a case which has been dragging in court. In what now appears to be a well-calculated move, those behind the scheme used the Sh1b security tender to nail him in mcahinations calculated to see him resign and sent to jail afterward.
In a well-orchestrated move, the wheelerdealers had plotted that once charged with corruption, he would have to vacate his position at the helm of Kenya’s monetary policy organ, making him the third governor in a row to unceremoniously exit the bank.
To embarrass and shame Njuguna, the plotters had ensured that his warrant of arrest was made when he was out of the country on official duty to Paris and was to fly back on a Friday.
Had the scheme worked, he was to be arrested at JKIA on Friday and driven to police cells until Monday when he was to be arraigned in court. The powerbrokers knew once charged with abuse of office which is a criminal offence, the law demands that one must vacate public office until the matter is concluded.
With that in mind, the game plan was to have the deputy governor Aron Sirma to take over in an acting capacity. Sirma enjoys the backing of the said wheelerdealers, it is claimed. In the Jubilee power sharing deal, Treasury falls under William Ruto and CBK falls under Treasury. Had the deal gone as planned, Sirma would have been confirmed governor by now.
The plan again was to remove Ndungu whom the wheelerdealers say is not easy to manipulate. With Sirma, it is said, they are most likely to have their way and influence the award of the tender.
What is raising eyebrows is that whereas Njuguna’s term is to end in March 2015, the award of the tenders is expected to be awarded by end of this year. It is for this reason that the elite crooks are racing against time to beat a constitutional requirement to phase out old generation notes by August 2015. The constitution requires that by August next year, all notes should bear Kenya’s physical features and not the image of the first president Jomo Kenyatta, as is today.
Trouble for Ndungu began when it was alleged that he had played a role in the award of a Sh1.2 billion tender to a private company and in which the government lost Sh400 million.
If finally charged with corruption, Ndung’u will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Andrew Mullei who left the position following a controversy involving procurement of forensic services to investigate alleged illegalities at Charterhouse Bank.
Dr Mullei’s predecessors Philip Ndegwa, Eric Kotut, Nahashon Nyagah also left office in controversial circumstances that appear to have defined the method of exit for future governors.
Ndungu’s charges arise from the award of a Sh1.2 billion tender for the installation of security software at the Central Bank to Horsebridge Ltd.
Horsebridge is an international IT company and is among six firms that participated in the software tender for the installation of an integrated security management system for the CBK. 
Ndungu has, however, appealed against a decision by the High Court sanctioning his arrest and prosecution over alleged irregular award of the tender.