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THE STANDARD

Afya House cover-up charge enrages MPs: Trouble is brewing in Parliament over claims of a cover-up in the probe into the Sh5 billion Health ministry scandal. A number of members of the health committee have signed a petition to kick out chairperson Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South) and her deputy, Robert Pukose (Endebes), accusing them of being used by forces outside parliament to cover up the scam. Differences in the committee emerged over plans to invite key suppliers named in an internal audit report of the ministry. Ms Nyamai is also in the spotlight for alledgedly blocking MPs from asking questions during a committee visit to Mombasa to inspect 99 mobile clinics supplied to the ministry at a cost of Sh1 billion.

State raises alarm over asbestos-roofed houses: The Government has raised the alarm over continued use of asbestos tiles for roofing after its components were found to contain cancer-causing elements. Housing Principal Secretary Aidah Munano yesterday told a parliamentary committee that the Government, which for decades preferred to use the material for roofing due to its versatility and resistance to heat, had started replacing them after research found that they contribute to cancer. The PS told the National Assembly Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Housing that the ministry plans to sensitise Kenyans against using the material for roofing. Ms Munano was responding to a petition filed by residents of Nyeri town, who had sought the Government’s intervention to replace the roofing of old houses in Blue Valley Estate which were built using asbestos tiles. They want them replaced with galvanised iron sheets due to the prevalence of cancer among residents as a result of drinking water collected from the roof.
Electrician bets his way to millionaires’ club: When he received a text message on his phone on Wednesday morning that he had won Sh22 million in a bet, 42-year-old Shadrack Kitur thought it was just another joke. Mr Kitur, who runs an electronics shop in Lessos, Nandi County, even switched off his phone thinking it had been attacked by a virus that was causing it to malfunction. However, when he switched his phone on, the message from local betting firm, SportPesa, was still staring at him and the figure was Sh22,842,642. That was when the reality dawned on the father of two that he had just joined the millionaires’ club. This was after betting for a whole year during which the most he had won was Sh2,000. Kitur’s victory was courtesy of correctly predicting results of 13 matches in the ongoing 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

DAILY NATION

Rio Probe: Sports chiefs face jail for Sh88m theft: Top officials in the Sports ministry embezzled Sh88 million meant for air tickets to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, a probe into one of Kenya’s most controversial sporting outings shows. Those found culpable will be prosecuted if recommendations of a tribunal which investigated the debacle are adopted. The report, by the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games Probe Committee, was handed to President Uhuru Kenyatta by Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario last week. Information obtained by the Nation on Thursday revealed that the investigating team, led by Strathmore University Dean of Students Paul Ochieng, discovered that Sh88,611,480 meant for air tickets to the August event was misappropriated. The team recommended that action be taken against the culprits in the disappearance of the cash at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts.

Passaris vows to sue Miguna after Spat on TV: A legal battle between two of Nairobi’s foremost politicians was on Thursday evening brewing as governorship aspirants Esther Passaris and Miguna Miguna tore into each other’s character and past. This followed a fiery live television debate a day earlier that kicked up a public storm. The Nairobi businesswoman, whom the outspoken politician pejoratively referred to as “a socialite bimbo” on TV on Wednesday evening, said she would sue him for defamation. Calling Mr Miguna a “loud” and “obnoxious” man, she said this was not the first time he had attacked her but this time she had lost patience with him. “I know that, as a woman, these are some of the things that we have to go through,” Ms Passaris said as video clips from the interview went viral on social media platforms. “A lot of men have also come forward to support me, saying what Mr Miguna said was disrespectful. Miguna has termed the accusations ‘outrageous.’

Kenneth quits ANC for Jubilee: Former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth has resigned from his Kenya National Congress party as he prepares to launch his bid for the Nairobi governor’s seat on a Jubilee Party ticket. Mr Kenneth dropped his presidential ambitions to support the re-election of President Kenyatta. He apparently sought the simplest way to stop the attacks from some Jubilee Party MPs, who last week gave him a two-week ultimatum to dissolve his Congress party. The former Gatanga MP wrote to the Registrar of Political Parties, Ms Lucy Ndung’u, last week, tendering his resignation as a member of the party. “Be informed that effective the date of this letter, I have resigned from membership of KNC. Please strike my name from the register of members with immediate effect,” says the letter dated Tuesday last week.

 THE STAR

Rutto Bomet rally to launch Super Alliance: A weekend rally is touted as a massive thanksgiving prayer assembly for Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto, but the convergence of key opposition chiefs on Sunday signals the birth of the national super alliance, NASA. The alliance is a potentially formidable initiative uniting them against President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Jubilee Party machine next year. It aims to undermine Deputy President William Ruto’s influence in his South Rift Valley backyard, where some leaders are shepherding the key region’s voters away from the ruling Jubilee coalition. Sources familiar with the planning said the meeting will be the first public appearance by opposition leaders to assure the public Uhuru will face a united team.

Outrage after Miguna disparages Passaris on Jeff Koinange TV show: Esther Passaris has urged women not to be discouraged by men out to discredit them while going for leadership positions. Miguna Miguna has dismissed a video clip of an exchange with her during KTN’s Jeff Koinange Live Show on Wednesday night. In the clip the Nairobi governor aspirant is shouting with his hands in the air “everybody is raping Esther…Esther is so beautiful… everybody wants to rape her …” The Media Council of Kenya yesterday said although it believes in media freedom, the comments made on the show violated the law on tone, taste and obscenity. Chief executive Haron Mwangi said, “The guests used disparaging remarks against each other on air.”

Uhuru yet to fulfil his pledges, say Western MPs ahead of visit: The projects in the popular wish list presented by Western MPs to President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House last year may not be completed before the election, following the imminent collapse of a caucus. In June last year, 25 Western MPs, led by Budalang’i’s Ababu Namwamba, met Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto to discuss ways to uplift the region’s economic status and revive the struggling Mumias Sugar Company. The government agreed to set aside Sh1 billion for the ailing firm. It has so far released Sh3.3 billion to Mumias Sugar.

 BUSINESS DAILY

Anxiety for bank workers as 1,000 lose jobs in three months: Kenya’s banking sector is grappling with a painful wave of mass retrenchment of workers, with 1,000 having lost their jobs in three months. The retrenchment, which is attributed to the September cap in cost of loans chargeable on borrowers, exceeds the 711 bank employees who lost their jobs in the whole of last year. More than six banks have announced retrenchment plans in the three months as others are also said to be quietly sending home hundreds of workers. Increased adoption of technology is also behind the banks’ push to release workers in a bid to trim their payrolls.

Health committee split over Sh5bn Afya House probe: Differences over the handling of investigations into the possible misappropriation of Sh5 billion at the Health ministry have split the National Assembly’s Health Committee, with its head now facing a no-confidence motion. About 20 members of the Health Committee were yesterday reported to have signed a petition against Dr Rachel Nya mai, the chair, and Dr Robert Pukose, the vice chair of the committee. “I signed the petition yesterday (Wednesday) and by the time I was signing, 16 members had signed. By evening, I was being told about 20 members have signed,” said Matungulu MP Stephen Mule.

Portland Cement to send home 1,000 workers in restructuring move: Cement manufacturer East African Portland Cement (EAPCC) is set to retrench more than two thirds of its staff in a restructuring plan which will cost the State-owned company about Sh2 billion. The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm, which has been ruled technically insolvent by the auditor general, says it will lay off over 1000 employees, reducing its staff count to 500. The loss making firm has offered the government its 2000 acres of its idle land for Sh10 billion to be used to turnaround its fortunes including paying for the voluntary retirement programme.

 

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