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Why Raila is now my close friend – Anne Waiguru

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Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, who in 2015 had a major political falling out after she was accused of being part of a scheme to embezzle funds from the National Youth Service, this week opened up about her love-hate relationship with opposition leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, both of whom led  separate choruses of condemnation against her when the scandal first broke out.

POLITICAL TRUCE

In a candid interview with the Saturday Nation, the governor said the Sh791 million NYS scandal stained her career as a technocrat at the Devolution ministry, where she was the Cabinet Secretary, but added that, despite the evidence presented in court against her, she was still cleared of any malpractice by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in 2016.

Ms Waiguru has all along proclaimed her innocence in the matter, and at one point sued Mr Odinga for defamation after he linked her to the scandal. She has since withdrawn the case.

On her newfound rapport with Mr Odinga, who called for her sacking as Minister when hairdresser Josephine Kabura, in an explosive affidavit, accused the governor and her close associates of hatching elaborate schemes to cover up the loss of money at the NYS, Ms Waiguru explained that it was in the spirit of the ‘Handshake’, referring to the political truce between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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“We agreed to settle our differences outside the court in the spirit of the Handshake, and for the cohesion and reconciliation of the country,” she said.

BEST OPTION

As part of the truce with the former Prime Minister, Ms Waiguru campaigned for ODM candidate Imran Okoth during the recent Kibra by-election, and has now become a regular visitor to Mr Odinga’s Capitol Hill office in Nairobi.

In the interview, Ms Waiguru defended her association with Mr Odinga, saying the handshake and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) guaranteed Mt Kenya region, from where she hails, a stake in the country’s leadership beyond 2022.

She argued that the BBI report provided the best option for the region regarding the next political dispensation as it provides for the creation of the post of the Prime Minister and two deputies, in addition to the President and his or her Deputy.

Of the five top positions, Ms Waiguru argued, one must be from the region, possibly a woman, given its numbers.

DISRESPECTING

“For the 2022 politics, I am reviewing the options available but I will be seeking to sit on the bargaining table since I want to contribute to the governance of this country, and I believe I have what it takes to contribute to the service of our people. We hope that we shall have two leaders deputising the Prime Minister and one Deputy President, totalling five positions, and 30 per cent of these positions must go to women,” she explained.

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She said her political moves, including the recent ditching of Mr Ruto’s camp to lead campaigns for the BBI report in the Mt Kenya region, were well-meaning as the pro-Ruto group was only interested in criticising President Kenyatta’s development record and championing the DP’s political interests instead of pushing for the region’s interests.

“I have decamped from Dr Ruto’s camp and am now happy because the future of Mt Kenya has been secured by the BBI,” said Ms Waiguru, who also accused Dr Ruto’s allies of disrespecting the President instead of supporting him to realise his objectives.

RUNNING MATE

“It is wrong when leaders, who are supposed to be busy making good laws in Parliament, and some Cabinet Secretaries, who should formulate polices to streamline the agriculture sector, become avid critics of the President instead of helping him,” she said, in an apparent jab at Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, who has in recent days hobnobbed with the pro-Ruto brigade.

This, though, is not the first time the Kirinyaga Governor is clashing with Dr Ruto. At the height of the NYS scandal, Dr Ruto publicly challenged her to explain her role in the matter instead “catwalking” all over town with her innocence arguments.

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They later closed ranks after the last General Elections, and Dr Ruto even presided over her homecoming ceremony, amid speculation that she could be the DP’s running mate in 2022.

And then, just as the cards appeared to line up for her within the Ruto circles, she decamped to the Kenyatta-Odinga faction.

INTERACTIONS LIMITED

During the interview, Ms Waiguru asked Dr Ruto to warn his supporters against insulting President Kenyatta, saying it could be misconstrued that such leaders have his blessings.

She added that, since her defection, her interactions with the DP are now limited to meetings of the Inter-Government Budget and Economic Council (IBEC), which he (Dr Ruto) chairs.

-Nation.co.ke

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Grace Wakhungu: Family raises Sh800 million fine

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BY KEVIN KOECH

The larger Awori family has raised a whopping Sh800 million in a bid to secure the freedom of one of their own, Grace Wakhungu, who is serving time in jail over corruption.

Wakhungu, was handed 69 years in jail or a Sh707,725,562 million fine.

Wakhungu alongside Sirisia MP John Waluke were handed the hefty sentences for their role in a maize import scandal which saw the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) lose Sh297 million in 2009.

A source from the Wakhungu family said despite some challenges, they were on course to secure her freedom.

“The sentencing of granny is not something that was taken lightly by Wakhungu’s siblings, both here in Kenya and Uganda,” said the source.

Due to the robust family network, a system was quickly put in place to have money raised without delay.

“In fact, we outdid ourselves by raising close to Sh800 million, being contributions from family members through the sale of assets locally and abroad, personal savings and ‘silent’ funds drives by friends.

“However, we are somehow stuck, because we have the amount ready but the DPP, EACC and KRA are sending threats our way,” the source added.

He disclosed that Wakhungu’s immediate family had raised Sh197 million.

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The immediate family consists of the former CS Judy Wakhungu and her siblings Ben Wakhungu and Susan Wakhungu-Githuku.

A nephew of the jailed granny gave a donation of Sh100 million while her brother, former Vice President Moody Awori is said to have given his family’s and personal contribution of Sh135 million.

Wakhungu’s sister, Dr Mary Okello, the founding director of Makini Schools, is said to have donated Sh28 million.

The family and friends of Dennis Awori, a former Kenya ambassador to Japan and who has headed several blue chip companies, are said to have raised Sh15 million.

The family of former Ugandan MP Aggrey Awori contributed Sh41 million, our sources disclosed.

The families of Wakhungu’s deceased brothers Hannington Awori and Prof Nelson Awori are said to have contributed Sh93 million for their kin.

Others who are said to have given contributions include family members Christine Hayanga, Henry Awori, Willis Awori and Ernest Awori who are reported to have raised a total of Sh54 million.

A funds-drive organised by Wakhungu’s family members locally and abroad separately raised Sh236 million.

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Police officer arrested in Sh124,000 M-Pesa fraud 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Detectives in Thika town, Kiambu county, have arrested a notorious police officer accused of defrauding three M-Pesa agents KSh 124,000 in a single day.

Police constable Isaiah Monda Ontita attached to Matasia Police Station in Ngong, Kajiado county, was arrested on Sunday, August 02, after officers were tipped off by the affected M-Pesa agents.

According to a police report filed at Thika Police Station, it was alleged that the officer who is currently on interdiction had approached an M-Pesa agent in Thika town while wearing a full police jungle fatigue.

The officer told M-Pesa operator Jane Wanjiru to deposit KSh 58,000 to his M-Pesa account.

“It was reported by one Jane Wanjiru, an M-Pesa agent Maizama Con Bidii Shop that today a customer approached her in full police jungle fatigue uniform and requested for a deposit of KSh 58,000 to his M-Pesa account,” read the police report.

After receiving the money on his phone, the officer claimed he had not seen the M-Pesa SMS and could not pay the cash.

However, according to police investigations the suspect had received the SMS and deleted it immediately.

He later moved to Jomarg Network M-Pesa shop and applied the same trick where he defrauded the business owner KSh 17,000.

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The suspect did not stop there. He then visited Mermay Thika Communication and stole an additional KSh 49,000 using the same trick.

Upon realising they had been defrauded by the police officer, the second and third victims arrested the man with the help of the public and escorted him to Thika Police Station where they recorded statements.

It was then established that he was a police officer attached at Matasia Police Post but had been interdicted.

Notably, it was not the first time for such a case given three suspects were recently arrested in Kiambu and Nakuru counties for defrauding M-Pesa agents.

To execute their alleged fraud, the suspects approached M-Pesa agents as dealers in pretext of selling SIM cards and other products at discounted prices.

They then switched the agents’ M-Pesa phones before stealing their float in the process.

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Uhuru warns Kang’ata over statement on BBI  

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BY KEVIN KOECH

President Uhuru Kenyatta has called out his right-hand man in the Senate, Irungu Kang’ata, over his recent remarks in which he threatened to sabotage the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The Senator told the Opposition senators to pass the controversial revenue sharing formula and that failure to do so would lead to rejection of the handshake by Mt Kenya region.

According to a report by Taifa Leo, the president was reported to have issued ‘gag orders’ against Irungu asking him to desist from making such sentiments and instead to leave the matter to him.

The president’s action against Irungu came after senators voted against formula which was in turn blamed on the chief whip over his remarks threatening the handshake partners.

Confirming the president’s action, Kang’ata said he had been in talks with the head of state and had decided to stop commenting on the matter.

“I have been in talks with the president severally, and I have now decided to stop addressing this matter in public until we solve the standoff,” said Kang’ata.

The president is reported to have taken control of the matter and instructed Treasury CS Ukur Yattani to organise for meeting with governors to find an alternative way to share the money.

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The money to be released is meant for paying salaries and in the fight against COVID-19 while waiting for senators to end the stalemate over the revenue formula.

The meeting will be attended by Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, chairman Council of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya, Senate majority leader Samuel Poghisio, chief whip Kang’ata and chairman for CoG’s Finance Committee Wycliffe Wangamati.

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