Ruto was sacked over land – Karua

By: RAMADHAN RAJAB and JAMES MBAKA

NARC-Kenya leader Martha Karua said yesterday that Deputy President William Ruto was sacked from the Cabinet in 2011 because he illegally acquired and sold a government forest in Ngong.

Karua, a former minister in the Grand Coalition government of 2008-13, said the DP was insincere this week on the factors that led to his sacking.

“Back then I was a member of the backbench in Parliament when we raised issues of integrity against Ruto, as he was facing a fraud case regarding Ngong Forest land. He had taken cash from Kenya Pipeline in exchange for that land.” The DP has lately been involved in an escalating exchange of words with Cord leader Raila Odinga over a decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta to allow Uganda to export sugar into Kenya.

Ruto has said Raila, who was Prime Minister and coprincipal with President Mwai Kibaki in the Grand Coalition, sacked him from the Cabinet because he cancelled the sugar import licences of smuggling barons. But Karua told a press conference at her party headquarters in Nairobi, “Following our agitation in Parliament – and Hansard can bear me witness – he and another minister, whom I can’t mention here because he isn’t part of the debate now, were removed from Cabinet.”

The courts later dismissed the land case against Ruto, after a key witness failed to testify. Karua said if Ruto is convinced that his sacking was linked to the cancellation of sugar baron licences then he should give out the list of all the companies and individuals whose permits were cancelled, backed up by information on how they had been approved. Yesterday, seven ODM lawmakers claimed that proceeds from sugar imported by the government are financing terrorism.

The MPs alleged they have evidence indicating that part of the money facilitated the April 2 Garissa University terrorist attack in which 148 were killed by al Shabaab militants. They maintained that most of the university students killed in Garissa “were from Western Kenya”.

The MPs’ statement was read by the Busia woman representative, Florence Waingah, during a press conference at Orange House, ODM headquarters, Nairobi. They said close friends, relatives and business associates of top government officials rely on state protection and coverups to import inexpensive sugar into the country.

They declared that the sugar barons have captured the state and declared war on the people by ruining longstanding sources of livelihood across the country. “The economic sabotage and economic crimes are going nationwide. When a regime turns itself into a mafia state, the people have a right and a duty to stand up and protect their livelihoods.

“Across the Rift Valley, the dairy industry is being killed by one single company that is pursuing monopolistic tendencies in the country and the region. It has already paralysed New KCC,” Waingah said. Although they did not name the dairy company, the MPs vowed to mobilise their supporters to boycott all dairy products associated with the firm.