It is one month since the ODPP withdrew the charges against Permanent Secretaries Kamau Thugge and Susan Koech and turned them into state witnesses in the grand Arror- Kimwarer graft scandal.
The saga that saw a whooping Ksh.63Billion of taxpayer’s money lost, seems to be unfolding and the graft puzzle cracking. Fresh filings by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji show that the Former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich facilitated the direct payment of Ksh11 billion to an Italian insurance firm that is intertwined in a suspect loan deal to finance the construction of the dams.
Mr. Rotich facilitated the direct payment of the amount to Italy’s SACE Insurance contrary to the law which requires that all payments are processed through the consolidated account in Kenya.
Section 50 (7) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) says all public debt has to be paid into the consolidated fund at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and any subsequent expenditure mandatorily approved by the Controller of Budget (CoB) for accountability and transparency.
According to the State, the push to bypass the wiring of cash to the consolidated fund was engineered to facilitate payment of bribes and kickbacks.
“SACE collected the Sh11 billion from the four private commercial Italian banks and lenders (of what is falsely alleged to be a Government-to-Government loan) posed as having loaned the GOK the said money but instead of releasing the funds to GOK as required by our Constitution and our law, the applicant as Cabinet Secretary for Finance allowed and assisted SACE to pay themselves. The funds never saw a Kenya government bank account or the Consolidated Account,”
Mr. Rotich disregarded the requirements of the PMFA and ‘willingly turned a blind eye’ to the irregular pay deal with the Italian insurer raising the red flag on his intentions. It turned out that the Government made advance payments of Sh19 billion, including the Sh11 billion in unnecessary debt insurance, which prosecutors said was shared out in accounts belonging to the conspirators and their agents.
Mr. Rotich is also accused of hiding behind the government-to-government procurement to single source the privately-owned SACE and craft an exorbitant Sh11 billion cover for the dams’ project which had hardly taken off because designs had not been drawn while the Kenya Forest Service had declined to provide land. The money paid for both Kimwarer and Arror dams’ was made to a web of associated companies in Kenya, South Africa, and Italy that were not in tender documents. Mr. Rotich also allegedly ignored offers for financing by Indian and Iranian governments both of whom had expressed interest.
The dam scandal has unveiled the new tactics corrupt leaders are adopting and their intricate corruption webs overseas. The good news is that there is renewed determination and effort by the anti-graft Multi-agency taskforce which appears to be yielding fruits. Anti-graft agencies should continue exploring all avenues in the fight corruption. This will ensure that they catch up with graft lords and reclaim the billions of tax payer’s monies lost through corruption. No efforts should be spared in the fight against corruption. Only then can Kenya become graft-free.