Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Breaking news: Kimunya finally quits

In a sharp departure from his chest-thumping weekend pronouncement that he would "rather die than resign", Amos Kimunya crumbled under sustained pressure and has finally resigned from the Treasury. And Kenyans are surprised that he is still alive.

Kimunya, the fourth Kibaki ally to resign due to corruption claims after Murungaru, Murungi and Mwiraria, called a Press conference and issued a brief statement, saying: “I have requested President Kibaki to be allowed to step aside to facilitate an inquiry into this matter.” He said his conscience was clean and that he managed the sale of the hotel well. “I’ve held several consultations with President Kibaki, my family, friends and colleagues on Grand Regency. My conscience is very clean on the role of the Treasury and specifically myself on this matter. I am open to an independent inquiry to prove my innocence,” he told reporters.

At the weekend, Kimunya had said he would only step down over the matter if three other top government officials, including Prime Minister Raila Odinga, did the same. Odinga, Lands Minister James Orengo and Attorney General Amos Wako have all denied any wrongdoing. Orengo has threatened to sue Kimunya, and Odinga was due to give a statement to parliament on the case later on Tuesday.

Anti-graft groups and some ministers have sharply criticised the no-bid sale of the Regency, saying it should have been public and that the hotel was worth nearly 6 billion shillings. In its no-confidence vote last week, Kenya's parliament accused Kimunya of ignoring public procurement laws in the sale and of contempt for parliament.

Meanwhile, police have beat up and arrested a group of activists who were meeting to plan protests against Kimunya’s handling of the Grand Regency sale. Police stormed a Nairobi restaurant and arrested a number of civil society activists who were planning demonstrations against Kimunya over the sale. The group, meeting under the aegis of Name and Shame Coalition Against Corruption, had gathered at the city’s Garden Square restaurant adjacent to the Kenyatta International Conference Centre when riot and regular police in full gear stormed the venue. It was upon seeing the uninvited guests in uniform that those in the meeting scampered for their safety. About ten members of the civil society were arrested including Anne Njogu and Okiya Omtata.

1 comment:

Krazy said...

I see your wit is as razor sharp as ever.

I love the last sentence in the first paragraph.

However as an expat, the appointment of an acting Minister has some rather dire consequences for the country, especially when it comes to repayments to lending institutions.

From the Daily Nation this is the paragraph that will have the impact on our business in Kenya : "An acting Finance minister cannot sign agreements committing the Government to loans either locally or abroad. He or she cannot also sign on repayments to such international lenders as the World Bank, IMF, International Finance Corporation, or bilateral lenders."

I sincerely hope that this is sorted out sooner rather than later, or some Major Projects could come to jeopardy once again.