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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 26 April 2015


If Kenyans thought they had seen all in the on-going civil war at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, they should wait for the start of sittings of the tribunal formed to hear the charges against suspended EACC chairman Mumo Matemu and his deputy Irene Keino. According to high level sources, bombshells will be dropped in the tribunal chaired by retired Justice Jonathan B Havelock as Matemu and Keino bare the naked happenings at State House, EACC, parliamentary legal committee and a cartel of lawyers engaged in dirty deals.
Already, confidential documents have started flying left, right and centre heightening fear that the tribunal which will be held in public may end up embarrassing the head of state.
For starters, it is said that a member of the parliamentary justice and legal committee that prescribed formation of the tribunal will tell the tribunal that the committee chairman was bribed with Sh50 million to alter its recommendations. The committee’s final word was that the petition lacked merit and the allegations made do not disclose grounds for removal under article 251(a) of the constitution. Two, the commission on justice is still undertaking investigations on commissioners.
That things are not what they seem on face value is illustrated by an incident at the State Law Offices where two EACC commissioners were threatened with a gun forcing one of them to flee to exile for fear of her life.
It has emerged that when leader of majority in parliament Adan Duale discovered the report was to be shot down after interfering with the earlier one, he called State House and summoned Jubilee MPs to be on the floor after Speaker Justin Muturi deferred the matter for 15 minutes.
Events that unfolded last week at the national assembly exposed internal wars which have been going on at EACC for the last one year. The war has been between commissioners and the secretariat.
Those in the know say that it has to do with who should call shots at the EACC Integrity Centre in handling sensitive corruption files with suspects involved parting with millions of shillings. In short, EACC has been turned into a money minting institution with powerful forces with State House connections being brought on board by a well-heeled cartel.
It was the EACC CEO Halakhe Waqo who first acted against his bosses by forwarding the now famous list of shame to Uhuru Kenyatta. Halakhe is said to have the backing of Duale, Uhuru’s legal adviser Abdikadir Mohammed and Solicitor General Njee Muturi among other big names. They have also suspended vice-chief executive officer Michael Mubea. Mubea was first suspended by Matemu but Waqo came to his rescue only to back off days later and have Waqo sent home when Waqo realised Matemu’s days at Integrity were numbered.
Informed sources say the initial target was Matemu and Waqo and Mubea had Keino and commissioner Jane Onsongo write a petition to State House fixing the chairman.
Matemu suspended Mubea on March 10 2015 but on March 11 2015, a petition to State House for the removal of the chair dated September 92014 surfaces. Manoah Esipisu, the head of the president’s communications called a press conference and ostensibly sought to set the record straight as to why it took over six months for the president to act on the petition which raised eyebrows.
On March 12 2015, a petition was filed in parliament to remove Matemu and Keino. Before that, Keino and Onsongo were summoned to the office of the Solicitor General and prevailed upon to resign with promise of plum appointments in government. Osongo gives in while Keino stays put. The petitioner is lawyer George Oriaro.
On March 16 2015, speaker Justin Muturi reads out the petition in parliament and gives the parliamentary legal and justice committee 14 days to consider and make recommendations to the house.
It is said in some quarters that last week’s parliamentary committee on justice and legal affairs resolution advising Uhuru to set up a tribunal to investigate the conduct of Matemu and Keino is a culmination of a plan by individuals to force the two out of office to cripple on-going investigations on corruption cases touching on the high and the mighty.
But the big question is who exactly wants Matemu and Keino out of office. The game plan involves a number of players who are out to protect their interests using the petitioner lawyer Oriaro. Who is Oriaro? One may ask. He is an employee at Adan and Wetang’ula law firm. Moses Wetang’ula, the Bungoma senator has since quit the law firm.
Ahmed Adan is the owner of Integrity Centre, EACC headquarters. A controversy surrounds how he acquired the building from Deposit Protection Fund. Mubea used to work at the law firm before joining EACC.
For months, EACC has been out to trace and recover investments lost through Trust Bank now under receivership in the name Revack Limited. One such asset is the Integrity Centre. It has been discovered that the ownership of Integrity Centre is the cause of the circus being witnessed at EACC.
 A memo dated February 27 2015 signed by an investigating officer Kipsang Sambai and addressed to Matemu titled: Tracing and recovery of deposit funds lost through Trust Bank Ltd - (Revack Ltd) reads in part; “Revack Ltd was purportedly incorporated on May 25 1995 by the firm of Esmail and Esmail Advocates whose directors as well as subscribers were Akber Abdullah Kassam Esmail and his mother, Shirin Esmail, holding trust for undisclosed client”.
The memo reveals that during negotiations for the purchase of Trade Bank Centre, Revack Ltd owners partnered with one of the executive directors of Trust Bank Ltd, Ajay Shah, to purchase the same as equal partners. It is worth noting that Kipsang had raised a complaint which dates to back to May 2014 when the director-investigations asked him to cease investigating the matter until further notice. “The CEO called me to his office and showed me a complaint letter against me from Kipkenda and Company Advocates. It was complaining against me for carrying out arbitrary investigations outside the mandate of EACC”.
Kipsang stood his ground and told Waqo that the case was officially allocated to him and was registered as EACC/AT/INQ/10/2013. Sources say when he showed the CEO the possible forgeries represented by the indication of the stated directors of Revack Ltd in the Integrity Centre property transfer, he asked Kipsang to surrender all the documents to Abdi, the director of investigations.
EACC in a letter dated October 3 2013 addressed to the Director Deposit Protection Fund Board (Ref:EACC.6/2/2 VOL.II (27) requested for information and documents. “In particular, the Commission requires information and documents regarding though not limited to the following transactions, all documents and information regarding the directors of Trust Capital Service and those of Trust Bank Ltd, Revack Ltd, Samvir Trustees Ltd, Trust Finance Ltd and Akber Esmail and Company Advocates Ltd.
Surprisingly, Deposit Protection Fund Board in a letter dated February 14 2014 addressed to CEO EACC and signed by its director Rose Detho in the matter of Revack Ltd and Trust Finance Ltd and Trust Bank Ltd over the transfer of 2,500 shares. The letter reads: “In the foregoing, this matter now stands resolved and we, therefore, request you to close your file”.
One month later, EACC’s Abdi Mohammed wrote to Deposit Protection Fund Board (EACC.6/2/2 VOL.II966). “We request for the original facility advanced, interest accrued over the debt at the time of settlement, market value of the security property at the time of settlement and the board meeting that sectioned the settlement of the debt”.
On April 4 2014, Margaret Wangu of the State Law office in a letter addressed to EACC (EACC.6/2/2 VOL II (68) reveals the ownership of Tegus Ltd which was registered on March 13 2013 registration No CPR/2013/96498 with the directors and shareholders listed as Watuwatu Ltd, Sunnex Enterprises, Rachel Wanjugu Muthui and Anish Doshi. The directors of Watuwatu Ltd are listed as Ahmed Adan and Asma Ahmed Adan.
It has emerged through Mubea that Adan acquired the building and have been earning part of the rent EACC has been paying. Rent per month is Sh3.5 million. Mubea’s suspension was related to the ownership row as it emerged  that he was involved in the selling of the building.
Sucked in the ownership saga is DPF director Detho. On February 14 2014, she wrote to Halakhe on grounds he had surrendered its shares. On receiving the letter, Waqo wrote: “Take note and close the matter”. As things stand now, Halakhe Waqo, Mubea, Rose Detho colluded on the ownership of the Integrity Centre. Their aim is to sell it to EACC to the tune of Sh2 billion.
There are whispers all over that it is not petitioner Oriaro who was involved in the removal but powerful corrupt individuals.
Although the parliamentary justice and legal affairs committee claims that the future of the commission is bleak and the fight against corruption will satll unless Matemu and Keino are kicked out, investigations reveal that there is more than meets the eye. It is coming when EACC is deep fighting corruption cases especially on suspended cabinet secretaries and permanent secretaries among other civil servants.

One big unanswered question is; whose interest is the committee’s chairman Samuel Chepkonga serving? It is said that after his committee received the petition from Oriaro, indications were that the petition did not meet the threshold to have a tribunal set to investigate Matemu and Keino. Talk is rife in and out of the corridors of power that Matemu had several issues even before he was appointed to head EACC and the president privately had his misgivings on Matemu’s commitment to battle graft.
Sources further divulged that during the many committee meetings, until the very last meeting, both Jubilee and Cord MPs in the committee had agreed that the petition be thrown out but it was during the final day that Chepkonga and his Jubilee team changed their mind to support the petition urging Uhuru to set up a tribunal.
It is emerging that the change of mind came as a result of a meeting Chepkonga attended at the State Law Office where although the agenda and details of the said meeting remain scanty, sources say Matemu, Keino ouster was the main agenda.
Who summoned Chepkonga to the meeting at State Law Office? It is suspected that Chepkonga was summoned by SG Njee and Uhuru's adviser Abdikadir. It was Onsongo and Keino who revealed that they had been cowed to resign from office and promised ambassadorial jobs by State officials.
The two had been summoned to the State Law Office and asked to resign. Onsongo also revealed that she was promised a job as deputy ambassador in the US or Germany. After Onsongo’s resignation, we have gathered information that Keino was also summoned to the State Law Office where she was told that Onsongo had agreed to resign and she was also told to resign and be given a new job as deputy ambassador in Brazil which she declined.
What is worrying many is that it was after the two meetings at State Law Office that Chepkonga changed mind and informed his Jubilee counterparts in the committee that Keino and Matemu had to be kicked out. This was after it was discovered that Keino was allegedly secretly interfering with investigations of high profile cases and that what Abdikadir and Chepkonga wanted was a balancing act for United Republican  Party not to feel that Keino was kicked out and was instead being offered a soft landing with diplomatic posting to appease Rift Valley.
Sources say that some top government officials are not happy with EACC investigating high voltage cases such as the procurement of the Biometric Voter Registration Kits by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, procurement of tenders at the National Social Security Fund, Kenya Power Company, Geothermal Development Corporation and Kenya Pipeline Corporation.
The matter has now taken a political angle with Cord standing with Matemu and Keino while Chepkonga and his allies are pushing for their removal. If Chepkonga and his godfathers succeed in sending home Keino, it will be the beginning of the end of Deputy President William Ruto in Rift Valley. With Davis Chirchir, Felix Koskey, Marianne Keitany and former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, will Rift Valley leaders ever trust DP William Ruto again? Sources say that Chirchir had made many enemies and Rift Valley wheeler dealers have been secretly celebrating that he was kicked out and even wish that he is arraigned in court and dismissed from the cabinet.
We have also established that a meeting at State House finally sealed the fate of Matemu and Keino. Sources say the State House meeting was attended by Chepkonga, Ruto, Njee and Abdikadir. Later, Abdikadir was blamed for not giving Uhuru the correct information on why the EACC top two had to be shown the door.
Unconfirmed sources say Abdikadir is a marked man and all eyes are now set on him with allegations that he has been giving Uhuru and Ruto half-baked and unsound advice something that has led Uhuru to make unpopular and illegal decisions.
Already, some Uhuru aides are contemplating kicking Abdikadir out saying he is a liability to the president and that he has not been helping him make the right decisions with major declarations by Uhuru having been reversed or challenged in court which they say embarrasses the president.
It is suspected that there is a serious power struggle among the president’s legal advisers with Abdikadir and Njee currently feeling the heat for giving Uhuru false information, as they serve their interests.
Abdikadir is said to have been behind the president’s announcement asking police recruits to defy a court case challenging their recruitment. The was later reversed after what State House said were consultations involving the president and other key players on the matter.
Njee has been an aide of Uhuru for many years. He and Abdikadir are said to be eyeing the Attorney General’s position. The trio has made life hard for AG Githu Mungai whose advice, sources say, has been ignored as Uhuru aides prefer advice from Njee.
It is the same clique that allegedly misled Uhuru in the appointments of John Mututho, Aduba Dida and Chris Okemo that were later revoked. Mututho's appointment had to be revoked and taken back through the national assembly before he was reappointed by the president.
Investigations further reveal that Matemu, Keino woes could be linked to the illegal sale of Integrity Centre. What are the links of Njee and Abdikadir on the Integrity Centre saga and the suspension of Mubea for 90 days pending investigations into his conduct?
It is said that Mubea was suspended after he was alleged to have concealed information on the acquisition of Integrity Centre. Sources say the house was sold under complex and potentially scandalous series of transactions.
Mubea is said to have been deeply involved in the deal and concealed some useful information for personal interest. He is said to have information on how the building moved from being public property, which should have been sold to pay off depositors defrauded by a collapsed bank, into the private property of shadowy companies. It is suspected the sale of the building has been one of the sources of a leadership row at the commission.
According to well-placed sources, Mubea has also been accused of hiding five files whose cases had been reported to the commission. The details of the said files are yet to be known. Mubea is also accused of working in cahoots with the company to defraud the public.
It is now being said that Mubea will finally find his way back and the EACC secretariat will work overtime to indict a few suspects to show its commissioners were sleeping on their jobs.
Investigations reveal that some of those accused want Mubea and Halakhe to remain to help them skew investigations while some MPs want the whole group to be kicked out the commissioners and the secretariat.
What is worrying many is that the position of Ruto is not clear on the matter but it is being whispered that he is unhappy with Waqo who allegedly gave out names that were not in the original list.
At one time, suspended Labour cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi and Chirchir had boasted that they were not in the list. An MP from Rift Valley was heard after he read a story in a newspaper that Chirchir was not in the list of shame and was left wondering who then was in the list.
The MP was further heard complaining bitterly that man-eating Chirchir was making all Kalenjins look corrupt and that Ruto in the first place made a big error in nominating him given his past tainted nature from chicken gate scandal, Posta scam to IEBC.
It is also said that Mubea’s suspension had something to do with a report by the Commission on Administrative Justice alleging that he illegally earned Sh1.2 million during his term in office from January 2013 to date.
According to the report, Mubea was earning a gross salary of Sh780,000 instead of the Sh550,000 maximum set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission. It is again said that Mubea negotiated the salary with Keino and the negotiations did not involve any other officials.
According to the report, Mubea receives Sh280,000 as allowances. He was also given a domestic servant allowance of Sh40,000 to compromise his position at EACC.
According to the report, Keino was inappropriately notified of the sale of the two houses by NSSF two years ago and three months after the sale had closed on December 30 2011, NSSF failed to place a public notice informing the public of the availability of 287 houses for sale at Nyayo Embakasi after the stipulated deadline. However, NSSF appeared to have selectively informed some potential buyers including Keino of the availability of the houses. Keino was given a letter of offer even before she made an application for the houses.
Although there is no evidence to confirm the allegation that NSSF may have donated the two houses to Keino, the timing and the manner in which the transaction took place suggests the fact that Keino may have compromised her position as the vice chair at  EACC, at a time EACC was investigating NSSF.
As the parliamentary committee advises that a tribunal be formed, the timing is suspect as it has come barely a month after Uhuru cracked the whip on corruption by demanding that top government officials named in the list of shame step aside to allow for speedy and independent investigations.
Back to the Abdikadir, Njee, Chepkonga deal, sources now say that the three are the key players behind the move to disband EACC. What is still a mystery is on whose behalf they are pushing for the EACC’s disbandment.
According to Matemu, some powerful forces in the government are behind the wars at the commission saying the Anglo Leasing scandal, Karen land saga, issue of the Integrity Centre sale and its relationship with the Deposit Protection Fund Board and Geothermal Development Company probe were part of the reasons behind attempts to disband the commission.
In the Karen land saga, big names in government and politicians feature prominently. It is also surfacing that Duale’s brother Abdi Duale has landed a multi-million shillings partition tender at new GDC Kawi headquarters in Nairobi South B. He runs a construction firm Concordia. It has been paid Sh170 million. Duale’s catering firm Nomad is providing services at GDC Menengai site. GDC files, it is said, were to be released for prosecution.

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