Thursday, July 3, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
July 2, 2008

A few years ago when Justice Aaron Ringera was hell bent on getting the KACC job, I wrote an article that predicted that if he was appointed to head the KACC office, corruption would not be eradicated. At that time, my theory was based on the premise that in Africa, we never want to punish our kin even if that kin were the thief. We would rather aid his escape than hand him over to the authorities.

Back then, I looked at the faces that occupied key law enforcement positions in government. They were all from the same region. They were in the judiciary, Justice Ministry, Criminal Investigations Department, Ministry of Internal Security and the Provincial administration.

At that time, government ministries and departments that were prone to massive theft of public funds were all headed one way or another by characters from the same community. These were the Ministry of Finance, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Airports Authority, Telkom Kenya, Communications Commission of Kenya, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, Lands Ministry, Roads Ministry, Energy Ministry and the Office of the President.
I pointed out that Ringera would find it difficult to go after those people who gave him the most expensive job in the Kibaki administration.

Following on this theory, it was later easier to see why John Githongo had to flee the country after being cautioned several times by Kiraitu Murungi and Aaron Ringera to go slowly in his pursuit of the Anglo Leasing architects. It was easier to see why KACC was not as enthusiastic in investigating David Mwiraria, Kiraitu Murungi, Moody Awori and all those that were involved in the Anglo Leasing scam.

This scenario provided Moody Awori with a perfect escape route. He defied calls to resign after he was adversely mentioned in several of those scams. He did that with the full knowledge that KACC would dare not send Kiraitu and Mwiraria to jail and that those resignations were mere smokescreen and that they would eventually return to the cabinet; which they did.

Is it any wonder that in this latest Grand Regency scandal, the real characters playing the lead roles are Amos Kimunya, Aaron Ringera and Governor Njuguna Ndung’u? Is it any wonder that when Ringera flushed out Andrew Mullei from Central Bank as Governor on fabricated charges, Amos Kimunya had to fish for Njuguna Ndung’u to replace Dr. Mullei?

However, the most pathetic aspect of this scandal was the manner in which it was executed. It showed a level of arrogance not witnessed in Kenya before. It showed how Kenyan political leadership had graduated from mere impunity to arrogant violation of the law knowing that those at the epicenter of power could never be punished.

Because of this arrogance, Amos Kimunya and company threw all caution to the wind and usurped the powers of Justice Minister, Attorney General and Lands Minister by disregarding all procedures of terminating criminal and civil suits in courts of law.

They disregarded all rules governing the transfer of land title deeds and disposal of public property. In a nutshell, they were out to prove that they were the law.
The Amos Kimunya saga reminds me of a statement one Naashon Isaac Njenga Njoroge made sometime in August 1969, when Prosecutor Karugu charged him with the murder of one Thomas Joseph Adhiambo Mboya. On being asked why he shot and killed Mboya, Njenga looked at Karugu straight in the eye and retorted: Why ask me; why don’t you ask the big man who sent me?

In crucifying Amos Kimunya for the scandalous Grand Regency deal, the question to ask is: Did Amos Kimunya act alone? Is the trio the only players in this scam? Or, are there more power local barons behind the scene pulling the strings? What were their motivations in excluding Martha Karua, James Orengo and Amos Wako? Had these characters refused to play ball or was it just pure greed that made them exclude these people?

Now that nobody really knows how much cash was received from the Libyans, is it possible that the actual amount was higher than Amos Kimunya’s Ks 2.9 billion and that when this Ks 2.9 million finally got here, other players who had not received their share slashed another Ks 900million leaving the Central Bank with a mere Ks 1.8billion?