Duale accuses Raila of benefitting from graft

Mr Duale told a press conference at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday that the Mombasa County government, which is headed by Hassan Ali Joho of the Raila-led Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), had bought at least 20 air tickets for Mr Odinga recently.

He also claimed Mr Odinga had enjoyed other forms of hospitality by the governors using public funds.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has been thrown at the centre of the corruption debate with National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale accusing him of benefitting from graft perpetuated by governors from his coalition.

The claims, which Mr Odinga described as “foolishness”, came just a day after the Cord co-principal defended Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi (ODM) over corruption claims in his county.

He had said Mr Kingi, who has been summoned by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission over allegations of the loss of Sh1.18 billion, had set a good example of how to deal with corruption by naming companies he claims perpetrated the theft.

The comment immediately triggered a war of words between supporters of Cord and the ruling Jubilee Party.

Mr Duale fired the first salvo when he claimed that Mr Odinga was presiding over the “theft” of funds in counties headed by ODM governors. He challenged the opposition leader to tell Kenyans the truth.

But opposition MPs rallied behind their leader, saying Mr Duale was not in the same political league or age bracket as Mr Odinga.

POLITICAL PEER

The Cord leader said the Garissa Township MP was not his political peer. He said at Capitol Centre in Upper Hill, Nairobi, on Thursday: “Hayo mambo ya Duale ni ya ujinga, upuzi. Yeye sio rika yangu (Those issues raised by Duale are pure stupidity, nonsense. He is not my agemate).”

Meanwhile, Deputy President William Ruto said on Thursday leaders who engaged in double-speak could not win the war against corruption.

Mr Duale and 10 Jubilee MPs accused Mr Odinga of turning a blind eye to the theft of billions of shillings diverted through senior county government officials, lawyers and bogus firms.

“The Kilifi County director of procurement has been arrested and charged but remains in office, said Mr Duale. “Why are Kingi and Odinga protecting him?”

But Mr Odinga said: “I do not condone corruption. I went to Kilifi on a fact finding tour and I established that the governor blew the whistle over corruption in the county.”

Mr Duale described Mr Odinga as an accomplice and beneficiary of theft in the counties.

“He must account for the stipends and other facilitation received in form of public funds at the expense of critical public services to vulnerable Kenyans.”

He challenged the anti-graft agency to investigate Kilifi County.

Mr Duale displayed to journalists a chart showing how some Sh308 million allegedly paid by Kilifi County for 12 acres of land was shared out between two law firms, five companies and an individual.

He also said he had evidence that the Mombasa County government had paid for 20 air tickets for Mr Odinga since 2013.

‘LOOTING SYNDICATE’

“Odinga sits atop the biggest public looting syndicate ever seen in Kenya, overseeing the siphoning of billions annually from the budgets of more than a dozen counties,” said Mr Duale.

ODM chairman John Mbadi and other MPs held their own press conference, in which they read out a list of the directors of the companies reported to have stolen Sh51 million from Kilifi.

They said the firms were owned by people from central Kenya.

They claimed Mr Duale was under State House instructions to divert attention from corruption allegations facing the Jubilee administration.

“Whereas we don’t want to engage with Duale, because he is a mere agent, the issues raised by our party leader Raila Odinga fall at the doorstep of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto,” said Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.

“We shall not deal with the Jubilee hirelings. We shall deal with the master.” Mr Wandayi said those involved in corruption were engaging in economic sabotage to the extent of treason, which is punishable by death.

Cord MPs Mishi Mboko (Mombasa Woman Rep), Elijah Memusi (Kajiado Central) and Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba) said their Jubilee counterparts had turned the conversation around corruption into a blame game.

Mr Mbadi claimed Mr Duale was a beneficiary of up to Sh2 billion in supplies contracts to State agencies.

Speaking in Kiambu, Mr Ruto called on leaders to be clear and sincere in the fight against corruption.

“Let’s call corruption by its name irrespective of those who are involved,” he said at Kiganjo Vocational Training Centre, Gatundu South. “Corruption is corruption and should be dealt with irrespective of our political affiliation.”

He added: “You cannot win this fight when you start seeing corruption through political party lenses.”

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