Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri named in Ksh 20M graft saga

mwangi kiunjuri
Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri in a past interview. [Photo/Courtesy]

A foreign national, working for an international aid agency, has filed a petition at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) accusing Devolution Cabinet Secretary, Mwangi Kiunjuri, of corruption.

Delphine Bram Christopher is accusing Kiunjuri of allegedly soliciting for Ksh 20 million from a group of non-governmental organisations to effect a less punitive law governing the civil society groups.

In the petition, the complainant wants Kiunjuri investigated for abuse of office and soliciting for bribes contrary to Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity.

Christopher claims the money was for operationalizing a less punitive law – the Public Benefit Organization Act 2013 – weary of a raft of amendments mostly working against the civil society groups that included capping of foreign donations to NGOs at 15 per cent.

The civil society groups sought the intervention of the Devolution CS after failing to secure a session with his Principal Secretary.

The petitioner further claims that a team from international NGOs and some from the donor community first met the CS intermediary, Ms Wambui Kimathi, whose office was opposite that of Kiunjuri at Treasury.

Ms Wambui was Kiunjuri’s Senior Advisor and the link between the Cabinet Secretary and international NGOs and donor community.

But sensing the teams desperation, at a meeting at Villa Rosa Kempinsky, Kiunjuri allegedly dropped the bombshell demanding for resources to be delivered to his advisor and sister-in-law Wambui Kimathi before the end of July.

The Villa Rosa team, consisting of three individuals, embarked on demands to bet for financial exchange. Among its demand were effecting the Act, introduction of NGOs quarterly meetings with the CS, the formation of a committee, dominated by civil society groups with representation from government, by the Principal Secretary.

The committee was also to have veto powers on unfavourable decisions by the NGO board as well as oversight the functionalities of NGOs, in addition to resolving the work permit issue for foreigners revoked by the NGO board.

With the parameters set, the team held several meetings with Ms Wambui before asking for $300,000 (Ksh 30 million) and amount which was negotiated downwards to $200,000 (Ksh20 million), to be paid in two installments.

The down payment of Ksh 10 million was allegedly paid on September 5, 2016.

Christopher allegedly met Ms Wambui at Engen Petrol Station along Argwings Kodhek before proceeding to have lunch at Habesha, an Ethiopian restaurant, after which money exchanged hands at the parking lot.

Consequently a joint media conference was organized for September 9, 2016 where the minister announced the effecting of the contentious Act and forwarded the Gazette Notice to the Attorney General for publication.

The plot thickened when the law was challenged in court – with the CS allegedly going ahead to demand the balance of Ksh 10 million.

The petitioner claims that Kiunjuri does not deserve full payment since he has only met a part of the bargain, operationalizing the law that is now a subject of a court case.

Kiunjuri was not available for comment.

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