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New fuel scandal hits Police Airwing

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A weekly allocation of Sh1.2 million has been channelled to the Police Airwing for operations to flush out terrorists in Boni Forest, Lamu, months after the aircraft were grounded for technical reasons.

Taxpayers have therefore paid millions to keep grounded choppers “in the air”.

Pilots of the Kenya Police Air-wing used to make regular trips a week to Boni but for months now, the Mi-17 helicopters used for aerial support to troops have been grounded, yet the money continues to be released for fuel and supplies.

And following a tip-off by a whistle blower, both the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) are now investigating what is being treated as embezzlement of funds.

The last Mi-17 helicopter was grounded last week after the tail rotor shaft was spoilt.

Refurbished machines

For instance, between January 11 and 24, only one aircraft, Augusta Westland AW119 5Y-NPW, was operational and no aircraft or crews went to Boni.

However, the cash for the Boni operation was released used and later purported to have been accounted for.

One of the issues under investigations is whether Chief Inspector Richard Mutua, who in the nominal roll, is listed as the head of pilots draws engineer’s allowance.

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This is not the first time the Police Airwing is on the spotlight. For years, it has been riddled with procurement issues and mismanagement.

At no one time the Air-wing operated with a full fleet with most of its aircraft both helicopters and Fixed-wing grounded for mechanical issues.

And now the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security has also opened a probe on the purchase of the aircraft by the department.

Of particular interest to the committee are five aircraft purchased last year, which the Interior and Coordination of National Security ministry indicated were new from the United States and Italy but were actually refurbished machines from Ukraine.

No licences

The five Mi-17 aircraft were purchased at Sh1.4 billion each, which means that Sh7 billion was spent to buy what could turn out to have been second-hand aircraft at the price of new one.

The aircraft, according to a well-placed source, cannot fly as they have not undergone the mandatory annual overhaul of the engines, which itself could cost hundreds of millions.

Five other choppers bought earlier have been grounded due to same mechanical problems. The Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters had their engines repaired last year, but after operating for just a month, the engines failed and are yet to be repaired.

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The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has  subsequently since revoked the licences of choppers owned by police, as they do not have insurance covers.

The insurance cover for the fleet of 10 choppers is about Sh25 million. Some of the air-wing aircraft are also flown by officers without valid licences in the sense that for KCAA to licence them, a fee is paid and they fly at least six hours for the licences to be converted.

Last week, the House National Security Committee directed the new Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to reject the aircraft in question.

“We have advised the new IG not to accept the aircrafts until after the questions raised over their procurement are addressed,” said committee chairman and Kiamba MP Paul Koinange.

Koinange told People Daily during an interview that documents availed to the committee showed that the aircraft were bought from August,a Westland Company in Italy and the Bell 206 Longranger in the United States.

According to a source who is conversant with the aviation industry, the MI-17 are expensive to maintain unlike Bell 206 and the Augusta AW-139.

Secretive procurement

The committee has also expressed concern over why the ministry went ahead and procured the helicopters for the National Police Service without approval from Parliament.

READ ALSO:   KQ receives final green light on direct US flights

Koinange said the committee would soon be opening an inquiry on the operations at the Police Air-wing to establish what has been ailing the department.

The committee will also be seeking to have the law amended to compel procurement by the Department of Interior be open to competitive bidding.

“The way things are done in the ministry should also change. Procurement is so secretive hence opening room for cartels to penetrate,” said Koinange.

The committee, he said, also wants to establish whether the Air-wing department management is the problem to all the issues bedeviling it.

“It is the feeling of the committee that the police service do away with the Airwing department since it is not serving Kenyans despite billion of shillings being pumped in,” said Koinange.

When the committee visited the Airwing last year, the department director Rogers Mbithi told the team that the helicopters had been grounded due to lack of spare parts.

It also emerged that the Air-wing was sourcing expertise from the Kenya Wildlife Service for repairs because police have not acquired the Approved Maintenance Organisation status from KCAA to service them.

source:Media Max

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Ignore the nonsense, Ruto says on widening Jubilee rift

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While it is obvious the UhuRuto union is tottering on the brink of total collapse, Deputy President William Ruto  has once again come out to term media reports of the rift as ‘paid-for propaganda nonsense’.

In a tweet on Saturday morning, the once vibrant principal assistant to the head of state, who was always seen by the President’s side, played down questions raised on his apparent absence in nearly all presidential excursions these days.

The latest occurrence was on Thursday, when the DP was a no-show at State House, Mombasa, when President Uhuru Kenyatta met security chiefs.

Sources indicated Ruto was at the Coast but missed the meeting between Uhuru and 24 governors.But in his tweet Ruto denied it, saying ” I was in the office the whole day never in Mombasa.”

William Samoei Ruto, PhD

@WilliamsRuto

Kenyans should ignore this choreographed, paid-for propaganda nonsense. I was in the office the whole day never in Mombasa.

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A week ago, Ruto was locked out of his official residence in Mombasa, which is just metres away from State House. This came days after he was denied clearance to fly straight to Mombasa from Botswana to meet the President.
The UhuRuto rift has sucked in Ruto’s footsoldiers who are facing heat that range from being denied access to presidential functions to getting sacked or demoted.

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In his latest Cabinet reshuffle, whose announcement was made in the absence of the DP, Uhuru sacked Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri who is considered a Ruto sympathiser.
Going by the challenges experienced in the docket during Kiunjuri’s tenure, one would say his sacking was expected; however, being Ruto’s strong supporter may have inked the pen.
On Tuesday, Tangatanga politicians were denied access to an Uhuru event in Nakuru, yet another perk of being pro-Ruto.
Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika were blocked from entering the Rift Valley Regional Headquarters Grounds where the President was issuing title deeds.Kihika tweeted, “I am utterly shocked. Why would I be barred from a function being graced by my President at my home county?”
Despite these telling occurrences Ruto insists his road to the presidency in 2022 is clear.
The rift in Jubilee started widening after the March 9, 2018 Handshake, when Uhuru signed a deal with Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Following the unity deal and the developing Jubilee cracks, new tendrils begun to sprout where politicians opposed to the bromance started running their campaigns under the euphemism tangatanga while those who support it called themselves Kieleweke.
It is unclear whether Ruto’s woes are strengthening his political muscle or hurting his 2022 ambitions. What is clear though is that the DP’s popularity in parts of the Mt Kenya region has been growing.
Reports also indicate that his plan for 2022 seems to be on course, the only thorn in his flesh may be calls for a referendum that have emanated from BBI, which he claims has been hijacked by ODM to craft its 2022 political line up.

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Diaspora

UPDATE: The late Eric Mwangi Thumbi of Atlanta to be buried this Sunday

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We’d like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you for standing with the Thumbi family after the promotion to glory of Eric Mwangi. God bless you for your continuing prayers, encouragement and financial gifts!

Funeral Services will be held Sunday Jan 19th starting at 2pm at West Cobb Funeral Home.
Address: 2480 Macland Rd, Marietta, GA 30064

Mwangi will be laid to rest afterwards at 3pm at Kennesaw Memorial Park.
Address: 1306 Whitlock Ave NW, Marietta, GA 30064

Eric was a beloved son to Elder Gathara Thumbi and Apostle Nyambura Thumbi .
Brother to Malkia Mumbi Hornsby, Anthony Mwangi Thumbi, Anne Wangui Thumbi , Mumbi Rehema Thumbi and Muthoni Wangui Thumbi. Brother in love to Kazha Hornsby, and Hannah Nyambura Mwangi . Uncle to Makena Hornsby. He rested on Tuesday Evening 1/7/2020 .

God bless you!

READ ALSO:   KQ receives final green light on direct US flights
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Education

Magoha revokes appointment of Prof Kiama as UoN VC

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By JUDITH GICOBI

George Magoha, the Education Cabinet Secretary, on Friday disbanded the University of Nairobi Council and nullified the appointment of Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama to the position of the Vice-Chancellor of the university “until the ongoing consultative process of choosing acting VC is finalized.”

In a statement from the CS, Prof Kiama will keep serving as the Deputy VC, Human Resource and Administration at the university.

In place of Prof Kiama, Magoha appointed Deputy VC (Finance, Planning and Development) Prof Isaac Meroka Mbeche to serve as acting Vice-chancellor in the meantime.

The disbandment of the council is linked to fight between the Ministry of Education and the university council after it emerged that the Ministry had a preferred candidate.

Those who did not make the interview cut included Prof Duke Omondi Otara, Prof Maurice Amutabi, Prof Isaiah Omolo Ndiege, Prof Julius Onyango Ochuodho, Prof Collins Ogutu Miruka and Prof Shitanda Douglas.

According to the PSC advert, candidates for the VC position were required to be full professors and holders of an earned doctorate degree or equivalent qualification from a recognised university.

The candidates were also required to have at least 15 years of academic research and managerial experience at a senior level in a university or equivalent institution.

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They were required to prove scholarly records demonstrated by publications in internationally peer reviewed journals, monographs, books and book chapters in their areas of specialisation, and supervision and mentorship of masters and doctoral students,” read the advertisement by PSC.

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