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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 10 August 2014


Is Kazungu kambi Jubilee's most corrupt minister?
It is now official Labour cabinet secretary was at the eleventh hour dropped from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s entourage of the America visit on grounds of corruption. Kazungu Kambi had been proposed by the URP wing of Jubilee to be among those to accompany the president during the US-Africa leadership summit.

Fear within the establishment was that corruption in which Kambi is embroiled in back at home would feature prominently during the US-Africa Leadership Summit. Those who accompanied the President included cabinet secretaries Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs and International Trade), Joseph Ole Lenku (Interior and Coordination of National Government), Henry Rotich (National Treasury), Michael Kamau (Transport and Infrastructure) and Adan Mohammed (Industrialisation and Enterprise Development).

Kambi, for several weeks now, is a man under siege. Barely a month after the High Court revoked a legal notice he published removing workers’ and employers’ representatives from the National Social Security Fund board of trustees, it has now emerged that he is now involved in improper land allocation in the country.

Lady Justice Monica Mbaru lifted the notice pending the hearing and determination of a case filed by the Central Organisation of Trade Unions by its secretary general Francis Atwoli. In the legal notice, Kambi had removed Atwoli and Federation of Kenya Employers chief executive Ms Jacqueline Mugo from the board.

Former Lands minister James Orengo last week revealed that Kambi is among the high and the mighty who controversially acquired land in Lamu and whose title deeds Orengo cancelled while serving as minister for Lands under the Mwai Kibaki regime.
Hours after Orengo dropped the bombshell, Kambi at a hurriedly convened press conference, admitted that Orengo had revoked his title for a 10-acre land along Jogoo road Nairobi from Kenya Railways which he allegedly paid for in 1998. Sources from Lands ministry divulged that Kambi had acquired the land for a company he is associated with.

Sources well versed with the operations at Ardhi House disclosed that Kambi claimed to have paid Sh22 million for the land which is not true. According to the sources, Kambi acquired the land dropping big names in then ruling government.
He is said to have used it as collateral to get a loan from Industrial Development Bank before Orengo revoked the allocation since it was un procedurally acquired.

Sources say Orengo revoked the title deed which Kambi had grabbed in order to bring law and order in the acquisition of land in the country. As Orengo made the sad revelation that Kambi might not be as clean as he had claimed, Kambi came out to defend himself against the damaging revelations by the former Lands minister.
Kambi’s name also features in the illegal acquisition of a ranch in Lamu. He is said to have approached the Africa Development Bank for the loan which he later failed to service.

Kambi is reported to have secured another Sh258 million loan from Africa Development Bank the title deed to a 60,000-acre ranch belonging to Giriama Ranch Company as security. Although the politician had promised to repay the loan, he did not comply, prompting the bank to resort to the law in efforts to recover its money from the lawmaker.

When ADB went to the ranch in a bid to auction away the land to recover their dues—which by October last year had accumulated to Sh2.6 billion, the directors of the ranch, however, said they were not aware of the loan.

Investigations reveal that Kambi had conspired with a retired Mitangani location chief (who was also chairman of the ranch at the time), to obtain a copy of the document. He is said to have made a false report at the lands office that the original title deed got lost, which prompted a gazette notice to be published to that effect. When a new deed was issued, the shrewd businessman used the document to secure the cash.

But Kambi has also come out fighting through his lawyer Philip Nyachoti saying a court order issued by the High Court in June had been directed to his two business associates, Ezekiel Karisa and David Komen.
The bank’s credit officer Olga Sechero told the court that Riva Oil Company associated with Kambi one-time issued a bouncing cheque and was suddenly closed down without notifying them, necessitating the demand for the loan balance from the guarantors.

In March, African Development Bank filed in the High Court an application specifically against Karisa and Komen to have them compelled to pay the money, interest and all other charges.
The bank insisted that Karisa and Komen, both directors of Riva Oil Company, owed them more than Sh309,906,835 as at February 28 2010 and the money had been accruing interest at the rate of 17pc per year.

Investigations reveal that after acquiring the loan from the bank, Kambi ventured into oil importation through his outfit, Riva Oil Company, whose offices were situated on second floor of the Trans National Bank House, on Mama Ngina Street, before he undertook to move into active politics in 2007. Deputy president William Ruto also has a private office on the said building. Apart from Ruto, Joshua Kulei, a business associate of former president, Daniel Moi, also operates from the same building.

According to those in the know, Kambi was one of the flamboyant newcomers when he entered into parliament but as time went by, he started begging when loans payments deals started haunting him. Kambi had defaulted in repaying multi- million loans and his companies were being auctioned. At one time, he had to be holed up in a house in Nairobi South B occupied by a girlfriend who started maintaining him. When she could not continue to give a helping hand, she threw out Kambi at wee hours of the night on grounds he was a liability. Kambi had to sell his Range Rover vehicle to make ends meet.

Kambi made a name in politics in the advent of multi-party politics in 1992 when he joined then ruling party, Kanu, and teamed up with William Ruto and Cyrus Jirongo to form Youth for Kanu (YK ’92).
During the 1997 and 2002 general elections, Kambi was Kanu’s point man in Kilifi. He made a name for himself as “Kazungu Pesa” as a result of his practice of dishing out money in a bid to woo voters. Women would fight over him. He is said to have a soft spot for women and those close him claim they are behind his financial tribulations including the collapse of his firms. In 2007, just before the general election, he challenged then Kaloleni MP, Morris Dzoro.

During the 2013 elections, he joined Ruto’s URP and lost the Kaloleni parliamentary seat. He then spent a short stint in the political cold before he was controversially appointed an assistant minister which saw him recover gradually.
Ever since taking over a cabinet office, Kambi has been involved in a series of sideshows at the ministry and more so, at the NSSF where he is known to have made very unpopular decisions in total disregard to the law.

Recently, Kambi was mentioned as one of those suspected to have pocketed hefty kickbacks on the controversial construction of the 40-storey Hazina Trade Centre Towers in Nairobi. The controversial contract has been awarded to China Jiangxi International –Kenya at an estimated cost of Sh7.1billion.
Kambi has also been sucked into the controversial Tassia II Housing project which had also been controversially awarded to the same China Jiangxi International –Kenya and which he allegedly suspended. It has been claimed that the projects original cost was Sh4.6 billion but later shot up to Sh5billion without any justification.

By stopping the project, Kambi overstepped his mandate and NSSF must now pay the contractor Sh5.3 billion if the tender is cancelled. When he was summoned by the parliamentary committee on Labour and Social Services, he stood his ground that NSSF had to pay the contractor the Sh5.3 billion.

Sources say Kambi has become a millionaire overnight and it is highly suspected that he has pocketed hefty kickbacks from contractors awarded multi-billion tenders at the ministry and especially, NSSF.

Kambi who is allied to Ruto’s URP has of late been under pressure from TNA MPs that he is giving the Jubilee government a bad image as far as fighting corruption is concerned.

Some TNA MPs have been whispering that Kambi has the highest record of cases in court and also spends workers’ money to hire lawyers to represent him. Some have even come out openly to say that sacking of Kambi is long overdue.

At one time, some URP MPs led by Bomet Central MP, Ronald Tonui threatened to bring a censure motion against Kambi alleging that he had irregularly initiated the removal of the registrar of trade unions William Langat from his ministry and unlawfully appointed Esther Gicheha, into the position.
The MP further claims that Kambi had attempted to force Langat to change the names of officials of the Aviation and Airports Services Workers Union in order to facilitate an intended move to pull the union out of Cotu in favour to the newly launched Public Servants Trade Union.
The MP claimed that the manner in which Kambi was conducting himself is a direct indication that he is infected with corruption and that he is more than willing to work with corrupt individuals. It was the intervention of Ruto that saved Kambi from being censured after he lobbied Kalenjin MPs allied to URP to spare Kambi.

Kambi, who was controversially appointed, thanks to Jubilee’s tyranny of numbers, is now facing yet another court case after an activist moved to court to challenge his educational credentials.
Charles Omanga has filed a petition seeking the court to instruct the government official to present his university degree certificate alleging that he has been heading the ministry in questionable manner. He accused Kambi of giving false information regarding his academic qualifications during his vetting before taking office.

Early this year, Kenyan workers moved to court to stop the introduction of a law seeking to deduct 12pc from their salaries to the NSSF, terming it as a fraud. The Industrial Court granted them an order. Currently, Kenya workers contribute 3pc of their earnings to NSSF.

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