The Director for Criminal Investigation and Director of Public Prosecution investigated the Arror and Kimwarer dams’ scam for nine months. Both revealed Kerio Valley Development Authority awarded dams projects’ tenders to a bankrupt Italian firm, CMC Di Ravenna, resulting in Sh20.5 billion loss.
Deputy President William Ruto is a person of interest in the investigations.
This February, Ruto vehemently denied as “fat lie” claims that Sh 20 billion was lost, noting the money in question was just “Sh 7 billion”. Ruto said the government was “responsible” and “had” a bank guarantee for all the money paid.
However, on July 22 the DPP confirmed the loss of Sh20 billion and ordered the arrest of 28 suspects, including former Treasury CS Henry Rotich.
Two fundamental questions arose from Ruto’s statement: How did he settle on Sh 7 billion? Does he sit on the procurement committee at KVDA who signed the contract with the Italian firm?
For the DP to claim that only Sh 7 billion was in dispute, it means he had prior knowledge of all transactions within KVDA. Thus, Kenyans presume Ruto was involved in all the steps that resulted in the signing of the contract, and payment. It is during these stages – which Ruto has made Kenyans believe he was part of by asserting there was no fraud – that expensive loans were shopped in Italy to finance the ghost projects in Elgeiyo Marakwet.
Therefore Ruto, whom authorities have not formally accused of a crime, may have information that would assist in the investigations. His remarks merit further attention by sleuths. The DCI should gather courage to investigate Ruto’s role in the award of the tender and the resultant loss. Alternatively, his statement must be recorded to aid prosecuting the matter.
Though the DPP has charged 28 individuals with the alleged theft of multi billion shillings, it’s not enough to restore the public confidence that war on corruption is real. The DPP must gather strong evidence to secure a conviction.
We believe Ruto is withholding this strong evidence, after all, no one is above the law.
[Khelef Khalifa is the Chairman Muslims for Human Rights-MUHURI].