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June 20, 2018

MPs push NYS probe after no-show by CSs Sicily Kariuki, Kobia

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki faces the Senate Health committee on the brain surgery mix-up saga at Kenyatta National Hospital. March 15, 2018. /JACK OWUOR
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki faces the Senate Health committee on the brain surgery mix-up saga at Kenyatta National Hospital. March 15, 2018. /JACK OWUOR

Ministers Sicily Kariuki and Margaret Kobia did not face MPs as expected on Tuesday to answer questions on the Sh9 billion scandal at the NYS.

The Health and Public Service CSs did not show up but the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee was informed that Kariuki was in the US with First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on a four-day official visit.  

No explanation was given for Kobia’s absence.

The two were summoned by the committee to shed light on claims that that amount of money was stolen at the National Youth Service.

It is said the money was lost through fraudulent payments when Kariuki was the CS for Youth and Public Service.

Gender PS Safina Kwekewe and Planning's Julius Mula, however, appeared before the committee led by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.

While noting that the matter under investigation in weighty, Mula told the MPs he had no capacity to adequately address it.

“Where matters relate to public service, I will submit, with your guidance, that it’s difficult for me to argue the case and give appropriate answers,” he said.

Kwekwe said her department had already filed responses and shared them with the Planning department, which previously submitted them to the committee.

“The responses that we gave to our sister state department were responses that we enumerated by ourselves so we stand by them."

The PS added that she wasn’t prepared to issue further submissions as she was given a short notice on representing the CS.

“Actually, chairman, I just came straight from the airport. I didn’t want to be seen to have defied [the summons] as I was told that I was urgently needed here," she said.

The committee agreed to adjourn the hearings to a later date when both CSs will be present.

“These are the orders. You will go back and put your house in order, prepare adequately and ensure that when you are called to appear here next time, you have answers to all the queries raised by the Auditor General in his reports for financial year 2014/15," Wandayi said.

"On that day, there should be no excuses on why you should not respond to even a single question. We shall deal separately with the other matters with the CSs."

It was reported earlier today that the lead investigator in the scandal was dropped following allegations of business dealings and sexual advances on one of the accused.

Chief Inspector of Police Julius Muia swore the affidavit that saw 43 suspects denied bail and remanded by Anti-Corruption court magistrate Douglas Ogoti. He was supposed to have disqualified himself from the probe.

One hundred and thirteen accounts held in 13 banks have been frozen as detectives zero in on the multi billion-shilling scandal.

Read: NYS lead investigator Julius Muia dropped after damning affidavit

Also read: NYS scandal: 113 accounts in 13 banks frozen for six months

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