In Summary
  • Kimemia to work from State House and Kinyua at Harambee House as government moves to tighten control on its operations
  • Kenyatta confidantes blame cartel of civil servants and businessmen for high level sleaze
  • President has put cartels on notice as pressure mounts for him to fight graft
  • Uhuru has been promising to act on people in his office he accuses of cooking tenders and job fraud

President Kenyatta has launched a crackdown against top civil servants he believes are engaging in corruption at the presidency, government officials said on Tuesday.

Among those targeted in the crackdown are four top officials, all above the level of section heads, who are being accused of constituting a cartel to manipulate multi-billion shilling contracts.

Mr Kenyatta has also shuffled the working arrangements of other key officials, bringing Mr Francis Kimemia, the Secretary to the Cabinet, to State House. Mr Kimemia had been working from Harambee House, using the same office he had when he was Head of Public Service.

The Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, Mr Joseph Kinyua, will work three days a week from Harambee House in what is being seen as an effort to take a firmer grip of senior government officials. His main office is at State House.

The officials said the targeted civil servants have been influencing procurement in various ministries and deciding who is to get top jobs.

“There is a seriously entrenched group that has had long interest in government. They are so deep in government that nothing can happen without them having their hands on it,” a source familiar with State House thinking told the Nation.

This came as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) prepared to arrest Central Bank of Kenya Governor Njuguna Ndung’u to answer abuse of office allegations over a Sh1.2 billion security tender at the bank.

The officials said some key people in the Jubilee administration have been taken aback by the entrenchment of corruption cartels in government, made up of businessmen working in cahoots with senior civil servants.

Officials claim that the cartel had a hand in various lucrative government contracts involving multi-billion shillings such as Anglo Leasing, police vehicles and communication and the recent controversy over the construction of the standard gauge railway.

“It is a small group of people who have taken advantage of the Internal Security budget to influence most of the tenders in government. They do it with business people who are outside government,” a source familiar with State House issues said.

In the last five days, Mr Kenyatta and his deputy, Mr William Ruto, have warned that they will sack civil servants who engage in corruption regardless of their level in government.

Mr Kenyatta accused senior public officers in his own office, saying, he would start with them to show his resolve to break the cartel. He fired the warning shot when he launched the first batch of 1,200 vehicles leased for the police.

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