Devolution CS Kiunjuri accused in bribery saga

A non-governmental organization has accused Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri of soliciting a Sh20 million bribe to effect changes to the Public Benefit Organisation Act 2013 that govern the civil societies in the country.

Through its Kenyan representative, Delphine Christopher, the said NGO wrote to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to have Mr Kiunjuri investigated for his actions.

In her petition, Ms Christopher wants Kiunjuri investigated for abuse of office and soliciting for bribes contrary to Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity.

She claims the money was for operationalizing a less punitive law, weary of a raft of amendments mostly working against the civil society groups that included capping of foreign donations to NGOs at 15 per cent.

The civil society groups sought the intervention of Mr Kiunjuri after failing to secure a session with his Principal Secretary.

“The Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri demanded a bribe amounting to Sh20 million from our organisation to operationalize the PBO Act in a less punitive manner for civil societies which is against chapter six of the constitution,” the petition written to EACC reads.

The petitioner further claimed that a team from international NGOs and some from the donor community first met the CS intermediary, Ms Wambui Kimathi, whose office was opposite that of Kiunjuri at the Treasury building.

But sensing the teams desperation, at a meeting at Villa Rosa Kempinsky, Kiunjuri allegedly dropped the bombshell demanding for resources to be delivered to his advisor and sister-in-law Wambui Kimathi before the end of July.

But key stakeholders and leaders of civil societies led by Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) George Kegoro have defended the CS terming the alleged accusations as baseless and unfounded.

“We take great exception to this baseless and slanderous allegations. They are only meant to hurt the ongoing efforts to transform the NGO sector and the leadership at the NGO bureau. As the CSO reference group we have fought for the Act tirelessly without seeking any changes,” a statement from Mr Kegoro said.

They want the petition dismissed.

According to the complainant, the committee was also to have veto powers on unfavourable decisions by the NGO board as well as oversight the functionalities of NGOs, in addition to resolving the work permit issue for foreigners revoked by the NGO board.

With the parameters set, the team held several meetings with Ms Wambui before asking for Sh30 million and amount which was negotiated downwards to Sh20 million to be paid in two instalments.

The down payment of Sh10 million was allegedly paid on September 5, 2016 at a city restaurant.

Consequently a joint media conference was organized for September 9, 2016 where the minister announced the effecting of the contentious Act and forwarded the Gazette Notice to the Attorney General for publication.

The petitioner claims that Kiunjuri does not deserve full payment since he has only met a part of the bargain, operationalizing the law which is now a subject of a court case after it was challenged.

 

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