By People Daily
Lands Cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu reportedly did not write the statement sent out on Sunday to announce she had stepped aside, with her close confidantes claiming it was written without her knowledge from State House.
Sources in Ngiluâ€™s entourage, as she travelled back home on Sunday from the US where she had been for a week, said she was shocked to land yesterday morning only to find the media awash with news of her decision to step aside.
A close aide of the CS said, contrary to reports that State House had been trying to reach her on phone in vain from the US were untrue, adding that she was not notified officially from any quarters that her name was in the anti-corruption commissionâ€™s confidential graft report.
The two-line statement was released by the Presidential Strategic Communications Union indicating she had stepped aside.Â She had been in the US attending a conference on Land and Poverty.
Read the statement in part: â€œLand, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu has stepped aside to allow for ongoing investigations by the Ethics andÂ Anti-Corruption Commission in line with President Uhuru Kenyattaâ€™s directive. The President has instructed Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangâ€™i to act in her place.â€
On arrival, Ngilu is reported to have tried in vain to reach State House to get details about her alleged temporary resignation. â€œWhen she arrived back, she unsuccessfully tried to reach State House to get an explanation on why her name had been included in the list,â€ one of her aides told the People Daily.
Later, she officially announced she was stepping aside to allow for investigations into alleged corruption and protested she was hounded out of office for crimes she was not aware of.Â â€œMy constitutional rights and the due process of the law have been violated. Contrary to the principle of natural justice, I have been condemned unheard.
As I step aside, nobody has afforded me an opportunity to be heard,â€ said Ngilu at Ardhi House yesterday after she handed over to her ICT colleague Fred Matiangâ€™i. Sources said Ngilu had at first declined to step down insisting she be furnished with details of accusations against her.
And like her Agriculture counterpart Felix Koskei, Ngilu yesterday visited EACC headquarters at Integrity Centre where officialsÂ told her they did not have details of graft allegations against her. She last evening confirmed to the People Daily she was yet to receive any communication from the authorities.
â€œThose claiming to have been trying to reach me are not sincere at all. Up to now I have not received any communication from the authorities and I donâ€™t know why they did this to me,â€ Ngilu said. Ngilu told media the decision to remove her from office was aÂ witch-hunt, but remained optimistic she would be vindicated of any wrong-doing in due course.
â€œI step aside to pave way for investigations. I accord my accusers the due process they have afforded me. Make no mistake, I will clear my name from all accusations levelled against me,â€ she said. Unlike her Cabinet colleagues who have since stepped aside to pave way for investigations into alleged corruption without pointing fingers, Ngilu said some people were not happy with the transformation taking place in land sector.
â€œToday, I stand before you as an accused person. People whose identities I donâ€™t know have accused me of crimes I am unaware of. What is interesting is that my accusers have been heard, their side of story documented,â€ she added.
Earlier, Koskei had presented himself at EACC seeking to know why his name was included in the so-called List of Shame, but was directed to report back on Thursday. Koskei, who was accompanied by six lawyers, arrived at EACC offices in his official escort of two chase cars and bodyguards.
â€œI donâ€™t want to speculate but I will be back here on Thursday at 9am to get a written confirmation of the nature of allegations against me,â€ he said. The lawyers representing Koskei include Ochieng Oduol, Paul Lilan, Richard Kioko, Charles Dulo and Francis Njanja. And Ngilu, who spent more than four hours handing over to Matiangâ€™i, said she supports President Uhuru Kenyattaâ€™s fight against graft, but cautioned against â€œselective justiceâ€.
The CS, whose appointment alongside that of her Labour, Mining and Energy counterparts was protested by the Opposition, said: â€œI am accused before the public court. Like any other Kenyan, I am entitled to a fair trial as per the law.â€
She said the same powerful individuals tried to link her to a two-acre plot scandal near State House, saying she did not know anything about it.