The raging political battle over the loss of Sh791 million National Youth Service (NYS) funds deepened Wednesday after National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale took former Devolution minister Anne Waiguru head-on over claims that he is among top government officials who participated in the looting of public funds.
Mr Duale, who vigorously defended Ms Waiguru while she served as Cabinet secretary, turned his guns on the former minister with a declaration that she “belongs in Kamiti Maximum Security Prison.”
The Garissa Township MP demanded that the Assets Recovery Agency, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions move with speed to freeze Ms Waiguru’s assets as has been the case with Josephine Kabura and Ben Gethi – the alleged conspirators in the grand theft.
An angry Duale warned Ms Waiguru that she had touched “a live wire,” with the filing in court of an affidavit accusing him of involvement in the loss of NYS funds.
He spoke even as three MPs from the Rift Valley asked him to resign pending investigations into the theft of the Sh791 million.
Mr Duale also declared total “war” against Ms Waiguru, saying he was taking sabbatical leave from targeting Opposition Cord coalition, Malindi and Kericho by-elections to focus on fighting the former minister.
“If you look at those named, Duale, Murkomen (Kipchumba) and Farouk (Kibet) and you join the dots, you will see where the last dot ends,” he said adding that Ms Waiguru was sacked from the Jubilee administration and is no-longer its member.
Mr Murkomen separately accused Ms Waiguru of trying to draw a wedge between Jubilee coalition partners URP and TNA in an attempt to run away from the NYS theft.
He acknowledged that his law firm of Sing’oei, Murkomen and Sigei Advocates acted on behalf of Ben Gethi, the businessman at the centre of the NYS scandal, but denied ever threatening, intimidating or harassing the NYS management as alleged by Ms Waiguru.
“At the material time stated on the affidavit, Ben Gethi approached the law firm of Sing’oei, Murkomen and Sigei Advocates for representation at the formative stages of the NYS investigations and in due course he moved on to other law firms,” Mr Murkomen said. “As lawyers, we are sworn to offer legal services to anyone that comes to us.”
The Elgeyo Marakwet Senator, who is a close associate of Deputy President William Ruto, denied that his law firm acted as a contractor or supplier of NYS, adding that he at no time participated in a plot to impeach Ms Waiguru.
“Waiguru should stop resorting to diversionary tactics that are aimed at pitting the coalition partners against each other. That will not work as we are above that,” he said.
Mr Duale warned Ms Waiguru that she would not be allowed to drag “innocent people’s” names to her tribulations.
“Aden Duale will not allow you to use his name and Kenyans as human shields. What Waiguru needs are good lawyers not human shields,” he said.
Ms Waiguru on Tuesday filed an affidavit in court linking Mr Duale, Mr Murkomen and Mr Ruto’s personal assistant, Farouk Kibet, to the theft of millions of shilling at the National Youth Service (NYS).
The former minister said the trio was among top politicians who pressurised NYS management to unfreeze accounts of firms that had allegedly benefited from the youth agencies deals.
Ms Waiguru claimed in the affidavit that Mr Duale sent a text message to NYS deputy director-general Harakhe Adan, warning him to be careful or he would be used and dumped by the other side of the coalition (TNA).
Mr Duale brought a new twist to the statement, insisting that it was a warning to all state officers against stealing public funds.
“If that is what I said, then I want to repeat it here to all State officers who think of misappropriating public funds. I warn you not to be used by the likes of Anne Waiguru who steal public money because you will face the full wrath of the law,” he said.
He addressed a news conference at Parliament Buildings shortly after MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Johana Ngeno (Emurua Dikirr) accused him and Murkomen of frustrating a Motion to impeach Ms Waiguru in order “to protect themselves.”
Mr Keter, who unsuccessfully tried to table a Motion in the House seeking removal of Ms Waiguru from office, said the latest revelations “had vindicated his claims that money was lost at NYS.”
“I now know why Duale and Murkomen were in the forefront of coercing MPs to withdraw their signatures backing my timely Motion to impeach Ms Waiguru,” Mr Keter said.
Mr Sudi, a staunch Ruto ally apologised to Kenyans for withdrawing his signature from the Keter Motion, saying “you are being led by the corrupt.
“I was shocked last evening following the fresh NYS revelations. We were misled into believing that Keter was sabotaging Jubilee. Now you can see that those rushing to the media to cheat you are the most corrupt,” the Kapseret MP said.
Mr Duale dismissed calls for his resignation saying the Leader of Majority position is a Jubilee position. Mr Duale challenged Ms Waiguru to provide evidence that he benefited from the NYS loot.