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Citizen Weekly

Monday 4 August 2014


Controversial National Housing Corporation managing director Peter Njuguna has finally been shown the door by his boss, the Lands and Housing cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu over corruption and procurement irregularities at the state corporation.

The young architect who had hardly finished two years at the corporation was shown the door on Monday night last week after a report by external investigators from the Inspectorate of State Corporations  seconded from Deputy President William Ruto, indicated he might have taken over from his predecessors who had left and perfected the art of eating and looting.

Sources indicated that all was not well at the institution and it was a matter of time before the MD, who is known to love his social life, was shown the door. He was not in good books with Ngilu and most of the time, bragged and dismissed even visitors who were sent to him by the CS or the principal secretary.

Staff at the corporation also lived in fear of his unorthodox ways of management. They spoke in fear. But he forgot that there were minutes of every meeting which would one day turn against him.
Tears of two disabled employees as they crept and wept on floors and corridors of NHC seem to have turned all the career damage to the one of the inexperienced young unpromising government CEOs.

In June, two disabled employees at the corporation whose retirement age had not even expired were shown the door. The two physically challenged employees Luke Abogi and Rose Mwaviso were said to have wept in the corridors as they pleaded with Wachira to spare them alongside seven other staff members at least to serve their remaining six and five  years respectively.
Signs that the MD was on his way out began last week when the report was officially handed over to Ngilu at Ardhi House on Friday. On Monday, the chairman of NHC board Sammy Chepkwony was summoned to Ardhi House where Wachira’s fate was sealed in a letter delivered to him on same night.

“We hope the suspension will affect some of his cronies,” said a source. Employees at the corporation accused a senior procurement manager, one David Bosire, and another salesman-cum-marketing officer, a Mr Ng’ethe, of being some of Wachira’s stooges.

Wachira, who had barely served for two years, had taken his senior management team to Utalii Hotel for routine projects evaluation and was expected to take them to Naromoru River Lodge unaware that his sacking was on the way.
Chepkwony confirmed that it was true they had relieved Wachira of his duties as a matter of government procedure to pave way for investigations.
Kamau Maina from the ministry was appointed to take over from Wachira in an acting capacity and introduced to the staff mid last week.

NHC is not new to rampant cases of corruption, procurement irregularities and mismanagement. Former MD James Ruitha and three managers Lillian Muinde, Elizabeth Mbugua and William Keitany have court cases touching on irregular house allocation to themselves during their stint at the corporation.

Currently, the corporation is in the process of appointing new board members after the tenure of its nine members expired in mid June. Only the position of the chairman, who was appointed in January on a three year contract, is guaranteed.

On Wachira’s case, questions were raised last year over the construction of more than 2,000 housing units for police officers in Ruai. The government has set aside Sh2 billion for police housing scheme. A report by the internal auditor at the National Housing Corporation said there were “serious overrides of control by management”.

Even though a defiant Wachira dismissed audit questions, issues noted by the auditor included construction of houses without a contract between NHC and Treasury. The contract was needed to safeguard the interests of the corporation.

It also emerged that the award was single-sourced and Nasca Construction Ltd was given the job without following the Public Procurement and Disposal Act. NHC also placed a floating imprest of Sh1 million for payment of unspecified project emergencies and a senior officer authorised the payment, yet it remained unaccounted for.

Another case likely to have hounded Wachira out of office is that when the anti-graft commission launched investigations how NHC bought land on which high voltage power lines stood for Sh800 million.

In August last year, EACC stopped further transactions between the corporation and Bangal Trading Company on the purchase of 10 acres of land in Nairobi’s Eastlands area.
Wachira was accused of dissolving a tender committee for allegedly raising issues about the land on July 8 last year and reconstituted another on the same day that went ahead to discuss the tender and awarded it to Bangal.

Other questionable deals the corporation entered during Wachira’s two year’s stint include the award of an IT upgrade system to a local firm. The ERP System was aimed at automating processes at the corporation.

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