By Nzau Musau for the Std
CORD leader Raila Odinga has accused the Jubilee administration of engaging in a looting spree at the expense of hapless Kenyans.
In what appears to be a sustained onslaught against against the government since his arrival from a foreign trip earlier in the week, Raila said Jubilee was unable to challenge his corruption claims because they are true and indefensible.
In an exclusive with The Standard on Saturday, the CORD leader said Jubilee has been strategically skewing the budget in favour of areas where very little ingenuity is needed to steal. He cited the National Youth Service (NYS), National Police Service, National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the Eurobond.
â€œWe are almost becoming the Messi or Ronaldo in the league of corruption. Of course what that means is that there is serious looting taking place. To say they are over-stealing is not a compliment. And they do not even challenge it. They do not feel ashamed,â€ he said. He said a lot of money is lost in revenue collection, contract awards, tendering for big projects and procurement. Corrupt cartels
â€œRemember they rode onto power under kusema na kutender slogan, and now they are tendering. Kila kitu wanatender in the true sense of their slogan. Some of the richest people at the moment are people in the procurement sector,â€ he said.
Raila alleged that the police, NIS and NYS have been receiving budget votes in excess of their actual needs. The idea is to make the money easily accessible to corrupt cartels in government, he claimed. â€œThese sectors are getting more than all counties combined yet the counties are 47 and they are providing critical services. Most of the functions of the national government which would have taken more money at the national government have been devolved, yet we continue to give counties peanuts,â€ he said.
He claimed that Jubilee could be condoning ghost workers in national government or is drawing salaries of staff who were transferred to the counties in 2013. Raila noted that although the wage bill for counties shot up from Sh21 billion to Sh79 billion as a result of offloading national government staff to counties, national government wage bill equally shot up from Sh271 billion to Sh284 billion.
â€œYou would expect a proportionate decrease in the wage bill in respect of those devolved. But when you look at the figures, the national wage bill actually shot up. You would want to ask yourself what happened. Did they hire people to replace those taken down or are there ghost workers?â€ he posed.
He further alleged that Jubilee re-tendered most of the big projects awarded under the coalition government to maximise on kickbacks.
â€œSGR was already procured in our times in government. But when they came in they cancelled it and re-tendered. This Greenfield Terminal project was re-tendered as well. They cancelled it. In the end, the CEO, Stephen Gichuki, lost his job for having done the right thing. Then they brought in Lucy Mbugua who found herself in trouble too,â€ he said.
â€œWhen I say they are over-stealing I know what I am talking about…â€ he added.
He revisited the Kenya-Uganda sugar deal to further demonstrate alleged Jubilee intent on perpetuating corruption. Raila said the deal smacked of private interests couched as national interests.
â€œAnd then in exchange, what have we got for Uganda? Milk. Who is the one who produces the milk? KCC is on its deathbed. It does not have the capacity to export milk to Uganda. The conclusion is obvious,â€ he said.
Raila renewed his attacks on devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru who survived the second impeachment attempt in Parliament. He claimed the President was protecting Ms Waiguru. The CORD leader alleged that the activities at the NYS prior to the revelation of the scandal depicted a plan to steal.
He said the minister removed former NYS Director General Kiplimo Rugut without following due procedures and put in Dr Nelson Githinji. â€œIf you look at the way she is running the ministry through correspondence, you would appreciate that sheâ€™s micromanaging the ministry. Sheâ€™s dealing with administrative issues which are in the domain of the PS. Ministers deal with policy.â€ â€œThe President has gone out of his way to specifically defend her, which he has not done with respect to other CSâ€™s, basically showing he is condoning corruption,â€ he said.
Raila further complained about alleged lack of transparency in handling the Eurobond proceeds. He said to side-step the Consolidated Fund and bank the proceeds in a foreign account before spending it from there reeks of corruption.