By NJERI RUGENE – Nation.
More than Sh15 billion was removed from the Central Bank of Kenya and transported in a lorry only to end up in the account of a senior security official, Cord leader Raila Odinga claimed on Monday.
Mr Odinga said that the money was moved during the transition from the Grand Coalition to the Jubilee governments.
Mr Odinga was Prime Minister at the time. The transition was in March last year.
The opposition leader, who is campaigning for a referendum at the Coast, told a rally at Mwangulu in Lunga-Lunga Constituency, Kwale County, that he was ready to testify before a parliamentary committee on the same as long as key people in the Grand Coalition Government he was co-principal with President Mwai Kibaki did so as well.
According to him, the money was taken from the CBK vaults in gunny bags.
“I’m ready to appear before a parliamentary committee and give evidence so that Kenyans can know where the truth is.”
‘SHOULD GIVE EVIDENCE’
However, responding to the allegations on Monday evening, a senior Public Communications official at State House, Mr Munyori Buku, said: “Mr Odinga should stop playing Russian Roulette with a serious matter. If he is man enough he should give evidence to the Anti-Corruption Commission or file a private suit.”
He said the President has an anti-corruption portal (web page) and Mr Odinga was free to post his evidence there “if he is digital enough”.
The officers and politicians that Mr Odinga said should to testify on the matter are the then Finance minister Njeru Githae (now Kenya’s ambassador to the US), Mr Joseph Kinyua, who was the Finance Permanent Secretary at the time and is now Chief of Staff in the Jubilee Government, Treasury Financial Secretary Mutua Kilaka and CBK Governor Njuguna Ndung’u.
He also said former head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, former Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia, former Provincial Administration and Internal Security minister Katoo ole Metito and former PS Mutea Iringo, who was in charge of Internal Security and is now the Principal Secretary for Defence should testify.
Mr Odinga also revisited the issue of Deputy President William Ruto’s harambee donations and questioned where he has been getting the money he contributes yet his salary was “less than Sh2 million a month”.
“We want them to be accountable and if they cannot, they should shut up,” he said.
Mr Odinga, who was accompanied by among others, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to ensure that any governor who has stolen public funds was arrested and prosecuted instead of making sweeping statements.
Mr Mvurya, who is also the deputy chairman of the Governors’ Council, said he supported both the Okoa Kenya referendum spearheaded by Cord and the Pesa Mashinani by governors.
“I need money to develop my county which has been marginalised,” he said.
On the referendum question, Mr Odinga also said the issue of whether county commissioners should remain or go will feature.
On Sunday, Mr Odinga said the question of how public jobs should be shared will also be in the referendum. Other issues that Cord wants a vote on are the future of the electoral commission and an increase in the amount of money allocated to counties.
On Monday, MP Khatib Mwashetani opposed the referendum talk. He stood his ground despite boos from the crowd.
Mr Mwashetani said this was the wrong time to change the Constitution. After his brief speech he stormed out of the meeting and addressed a part of the crowd before driving off.
In the National Assembly, MP Kareke Mbiuki asked the Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, to consider summoning Mr Odinga to shed light on the allegations.
“He was the coordinator of government ministries. He should be summoned to explain the source of the Sh15 billion he alleges was stolen,” he said.
In reply, Mr Namwamba said the committee would be guided by facts and had no control over politics outside Parliament.