MPs Want Ruto Aide Investigated

A House committee wants suspended Chief of Staff in the office of the Deputy President Marianne Kitany and four other officers investigated over the ‘Hustler Jet’ scandal.

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has recommended that the officers be held culpable for breach of the procurement laws and procedures in the hiring of a private jet used by Ruto during 2013’s shuttle diplomacy across five African nations.

The shuttle concerned the crimes against humanity cases that both members of the Presidency still had at the International Criminal Court. President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case was withdrawn in December last year but Ruto’s case still continues.

The committee wants the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to immediately launch investigations with the aim of prosecuting Kitany, Ruto’s Administrative secretary Abdullahi Mwasera, Finance officer Paul Kamau and former procurement officials Evans Nyachio and Simon Okoth.

They are accused of breaching financial, procurement and taxation regulations and procedures.

“The committee found no evidence to indicate that the Deputy President was directly involved in the procurement process for the hire of the jet that he used for the trip,” the report reads.

Nyachio was the director of Supply Chain Management at the DP’s office and Okoth an officer in the department at the centre of the controversial jet hire.

Ruto and his 13-person delegation flew to the West and Central African countries of Nigeria, Congo, Gabon and Ghana in May 2013, amid claims that the trip cost the taxpayer Sh100 million.

The shuttle was meant to lobby support for the deferral or return of the cases facing the DP and the President at The Hague to Kenya’s justice system.

?Although the Office of the Deputy President later provided documents to prove that they paid about Sh18.5 million to the jet company, the Local Service Orders (LSOs) that were used in the hire of the jet mysteriously disappeared, making it difficult for the Auditor General to pinpoint the exact cost.

The Auditor General’s report concludes that it is difficult to determine the ultimate value of the tour for the Kenyan taxpayer, since there is no evidence of how the five countries lobbied for Kenya’s cause.

“There appears to be a deliberate attempt to exploit the haste with which the trip was arranged to use it as a cover to defraud the government and the taxpayer,” reads the report, tabled in the National Assembly yesterday by committee chairman Nicholas Gumbo.

The committee argues that the culpability emanated from Kitany’s failure to institute or recommend any investigations into the circumstances of the loss of the LSOs and Local Purchase Orders (LPOs).

“The committee found out that no single member of staff, including those bearing direct responsibility for the custody and safety of the missing documents, had been interrogated close to six months after [the documents’] disappearance,” the report says.

Kitany is accused of misleading the committee that the missing LSOs and LPOs could not be traced while one of her subordinates tabled credible evidence proving that two of the allegedly ‘lost’ documents had been traced.

“Okoth, who was the custodian of the LSOs and LPOs, said the documents had even been used for other subsequent transactions,” the report notes.

The committee also wants the EACC to probe the hurried transfers of Nyachio and Okoth from the DP’s office at the height of the audit.

The committee wants Mwasera prosecuted for breach of government procurement regulations and procedures and failures of internal procurement control systems, leading to the disappearance of the LSOs and LPOs.