The Kenyan Weekly Team
The ouster bid of Auditor General Edward Ouko is being executed by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s close allies in a twin onslaught by powerful men in both the Executive and the Legislature.
But Jubilee’s succession plan in the powerful audit office –– known for exposing government’s looting mess –– has been thrown into a spin.
The Kenyan Weekly has established that Ouko’s senior most deputy John Kagondu –– marked by the ruling elite for the top job –– was unceremoniously forced to retire last Friday.
Kagondu officially left office after the plan to remove Ouko that was elaborately planned for January last year, dragged even as his retirement date beckoned.
“Yes, Kagondu handed over everything including his official cars last Friday. But he told some people not to be surprised to see him back. He left a bitter man because they had worked out a succession plan,” a highly–placed source familiar with the behind-the-scene intrigues said.
Duale is working closely with Emanuel Mwagonah, the man hired to physically submit the petition and be the “face” of the execution of the game-plan.
Last year, the removal bid was being spearheaded by Duale and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.
But their bid ran into headwinds after both men were named in the Sh1.8 billion NYS Scandal that almost brought the entire Jubilee machine to a screeching halt.
Murkomen has since disappeared from the limelight following a vicious assault from his adversary –– ex-Police Chief David Kimaiyo (KANU), who is threatening to end his political career.
In the Executive, Ouko, a former Auditor General with the African Development Bank is being fought by Treasury Permanent Secretary Kamau Thugge and his boss, Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.
But the spirited bid to kick-out Ouko five months to the General Election appears to have the blessings of Uhuru whose disdain for the Auditor General is well–known.
But despite political blackmail and intimidation, Ouko has maintained that the controversial Eurobond cash cannot be accounted for.
“And this one [Ouko] is saying he wants to go and investigate the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Ngai!” Uhuru exclaimed at a State House Governance and Accountability Summit on October 18, 2016.
But why is Ouko being fought so viciously?
The Kenyan Weekly has established that the fallout between the Auditor General and Treasury started following the acquisition of the audit vault software, an Oracle software that can track any transaction in the controversial IFMIS system.
“Audit vault is critical during audit. It can track any transaction which was done. For instance, if you pay phony suppliers in the IFMIS and then delete the same to hide your foot prints, the audit vaults will show. It’s able to detect who entered the system, who deleted a transaction and whose password was used. The software is like a smoking gun,” our source said.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) had recommended the arrest and prosecution of Ouko and his former deputy Stephen Kinuthia for the alleged irregular procurement.
But Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko cleared Ouko and admitted that he was under immense pressure to prosecute the Auditor.
“I find it rather strange that an extreme wave of urgency has been imposed on this matter when the same was not there since 2014 when it was taken up by investigators,” Tobiko protested.
The relationship Between Rotich and Ouko deteriorated further after the National Audit Office unearthed the loss of Sh66.7 billion by 17 ministries two years ago.
The money was part of a massive Sh450 billion in unsupported expenditures.
Rotich rubbished the explosive report and accused Ouko of acting unprofessionally, getting their numbers wrong and ignoring supporting documents provided.
“Going forward, it is imperative that offices mandated with critical oversight functions such as the Auditor-General do not compromise professional standards by making conclusions without thorough engagement with their clients to resolve any outstanding audit matters,” Rotich barked.
“The National Treasury would not like to see the annual audit exercise reduced to a ritual for tainting the integrity of public offices and a national executive committed to good governance.”
Later, President Uhuru Kenyatta summoned Ouko to State House, where he read him the riot act, accusing him of plotting to bring down his government.
A separate dressing-down was given by Public Service Head Joseph Kinyua.
But even in the last financial year, Ouko says a staggering Sh14 billion was wasted by the Government.
The report further says the Government could not support the expenditure of over Sh7.3 billion.
The ruling coalition’s disapproval of Ouko and Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo emerged late 2015, when a section of MPs led by Duale accused the two of sabotaging the Government.
They blamed increased whistleblowing on graft cases in government on “Opposition moles” and unnamed powerful brokers.
Duale has publicly claimed that Ouko and Odhiambo are leaking top government secrets to Opposition Chief Raila Odinga.
“We have noticed a trend of powerful brokers trying to use public officials to drive a corruption narrative against the Government,” Duale told a news conference at Parliament Buildings.
The Kenyan Weekly newspaper is a fresh general-news publication published on newsprint once a week.