By: ANGIRA ZADOCK
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry has blamed Parliament for releasing confidential information to the media, saying it exposed the government’s security capacity and capabilities.
Mr Nkaiserry said Wednesday, his team presented the information to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly in camera as provided for in law.
“The discussion between my team and the PAC took place in a privileged environment and information provided on need-to-know basis,” he said.
However, the letter in which an officer from the Auditor-General’s office queried the payments worth Sh3.8 billion in the 2014/2015 Financial Year was read out to Mr Nkaiserry and officers from his ministry in the presence of the media.
That part of the sitting was chaired by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed, who also read out a letter by the Clerk of the National Assembly to the ministry, detailing a series of allegations made to the committee.
Mr Nkaissery, however, said he was not aware of the letter from the Auditor-General dated August 26 and could therefore not respond to it.
After he had answered the queries raised by Justin Bundi, Mr Nkaissery then requested that the media leaves the room as the matters he was going to discuss were classified.
On Thursday morning, journalists from the Nation, The Standard and The Star were called by an officer from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations who identified himself as John Kariuki.
He asked the journalists to report to Mazingira House at 2.30 pm but was asked to send official summons to the respective media houses.
The minister was summoned after the Auditor-General questioned the spending of Sh3.8 billion in the purchase of arms, insurance for police officers, vehicles and repair of helicopters.
The CS said that it was wrong for Parliament to release the information to the media, who did not participate in the discussion.
He said that the core mandate of any nation’s defence was to ensure that its security systems and information relating to them was kept from falling into the wrong hands.
“Unfortunately, confidentiality was breached. The ministry has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly for guidance. We shall also seek legal reprieve within the laid down framework.
“Globally, countries go to great lengths to put in place measures that safeguard and guarantee information relating to their security capacity and capabilities,” he added.
The minister also blamed the media for releasing the information to the public, saying that it exposed the country’s security forces to risks.
He however denied alleged malpractices relating to procurement of security items within the ministry.
The minister also said that action would be taken against people with work permits and those who have been granted citizenship as soon as the ongoing investigations are complete.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION