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Monday, June 30, 2008

Corrupt Deals by Rogue Finance Minister Threatens Kenya’s Young Grand Coalition Government

The creation of a grand coalition government marked the beginning of a very sensitive period of national healing and reconciliation for Kenyans. The coalition is yet to firmly set its foot on the ground but grand corruption threatens its very stability. This is the third time the Kenyan Finance minister is making international headlines by committing the country to questionable deals that are “too sweet to be passed on”.

Safaricom IPO
In the run up to the general elections in December last year, many questions were raised regarding the manner in which Mr. Amos Kimunya, Kenya’s finance minister, was rushing the listing of Safaricom through an initial public offer (IPO) to raise Kshs. 5O Billion. Mr. Kimunya may have had good intentions but the timing and the manner in which he was “pushing the deal” were very inappropriate. Asked why such a rush to offload government assets held in trust for the Kenyan people - a few days to the general elections, he answered “…people should keep off the NSE as it was not a fish market”. The issues clouding the IPO are yet to be fully resolved, but it was held anyway and Mr. Kimunya is still at the helm the finance ministry.

Kenya - DelaRue Saga

Less than a month into the first quarter of the 2008/9 financial year, other concerns have emerged regarding the introduction of new generation bank notes. According the Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Dr. Bonny Khalwale, the finance minister unilaterally cancelled the tender that would have saved the country three times the cost of printing money. Again Mr. Kimunya toyed with the idea of buying a stake in DelaRue the money printing firm so that “he could save the country some money”. Had it not been for leaks surrounding this deal, he would have committed the country into buying a stake in DelaRue unilaterally. Apparently Mr. Kimunya changed the terms of engagement with DelaRue, went ahead to lie to parliament and the people of Kenya about the matters arising out of the DelaRue saga until when the press highlighted issue. He went on the defensive and called the press reports "rumors"....Continues Below


1. Aides to Rogue Kenyan Finance Minister in Shady deal Paraded in Shame (List Includes Kenya’s Central Bank Governor)

2. Corrupt Deals by Rogue Finance Minister Threatens Kenya’s Young Grand Coalition Government

3. Britain, Tony Blair and Mugabe are to blame for Zimbabwe’s woes.
4. How to get rid of Robert Mugabe

Secret Sale of the Grand Regency Hotel
Earlier in the month the same minister lied to parliament about ownership of the grand regency hotel. He claimed that the Government of Kenya was still the rightful owner of hotel (on behalf of the Kenyan People). This was until Lands Minister James Orengo broke the news that the Hotel had already been sold to some unknown individuals. The clearance of the sale was done by the lands ministry through some other equally rogue officials involved in the deal. In a press conference, the minister owned up that indeed the hotel had been sold to the Libyan government at a cost of Kshs. 2.9 billion. Many say that the Hotel was greatly undervalued. According to Senior Counsel Mutula Kilonzo, the hotel could have fetched more than Kshs. 2.9 billion. In 1994, Mutula says, he was part of a team of lawyers who oversaw the exchange of the hotel ownership at a cost of Kshs. 4 billion. 14 years later, Mr. Kimunya has pushed the cost of the Hotel down to Kshs. 2.9 billion. Other “unconfirmed” press reports indicate that Libya actually paid 4.5 Billion for the current hotel sale but the finance minister can only disclose the whereabouts of just Kshs. 2.9 Billion. The difference, Kshs.1.6 Billion still lies somewhere in the equation. There was no public tendering for the sale, the valuation (if it was ever carried out) was rushed and indeed very wrong, the finance minister acted unilaterally yet again.

One bad potato can quickly spoil the rest of the sack if not separated. With new mandates, it was expected that the coalition would direct Kenyans away from past ills of grand corruption which have cost the country its very development. Kenya’s economy should be ranking close or past Singapore’s since the two countries were growing at almost the same rate some 40 years ago. Rogue elements in past governments who ruled with absolute impunity have trapped the country in never ending debt cycle. Poverty is at an all time high. Kenyans cannot afford basic needs due to spiraling inflation. All this was caused by thoughtless unilateral acts by individuals entrusted with managing public property but instead chose to engage in “too sweet to be passed on” kind of deals, such as the Grand Regency Hotel sale. At this age and time, the country cannot afford to waste any more development years through grand corruption.

If allegations against Mr. Amos Kimunya are true, he should not just resign; he should be arraigned in court for gambling with the country’s economy. He is taking Kenyans for fools. He lied to parliament, he lied to Kenyans and he is still at the helm of the finance ministry. He unilaterally controls the printing of a country’s currency, grand spending and selling of countries assets that the government holds in trust for the Kenyan people. Government assets are not personal property. The credibility of Kenya’s grand coalition lies in how it will handle this particular case.

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