Uhuru to replace Kenya finance minister arrested for fraud charges
NAIROBI, Kenya - Esther Koimett, Principal Secretary in the State Department for Transport, last night was being considered as a long-term replacement for disgraced National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.
Because the new the Finance boss will have to be vetted by Parliament, State House was reportedly considering naming either Transport CS James Macharia or his East African Community and Regional Development colleague Adan Mohamed as acting CS.
"There is urgency in filling these positions so expect an announcement anytime now," a PS said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, according to people close to him, has been consulting widely on a number of replacements after Rotich was arrested and charged in court with corruption-related offences.
The corruption purge involving the Sh63 billion twin dam scandals — specific charges on Tuesday focused on the Kimwarer dam — has claimed five top bosses at Treasury including Rotich and his PS Kamau Thugge.
Also charged are chief economist and head of europe II Division Kennedy Nyakundi, Treasury Director of Resource Mobilisation Jackson Njau and Inspector General of State Corporations Titus Murithii.
Koimett, an investment banker with more than 25 experience in government, was said to be the favourite because she has previously worked in the Treasury and comes from Keiyo.
"The President is keen to find a competent person he can trust," a source familiar with the consultations said.
Born in 1967, Koimett's long career in public service involves serving as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Information and as the Managing Director of the Kenya Post Office Savings Bank.
For at least 18 of those years, she was involved in investment promotion, public enterprise reform and privatisation.
Apart from Koimett, Justus Nyamunga, the Secretary, Budget and Policy Strategy at State House has also me touted as a possible.
Kenyatta knows Nyamunga well having worked with him when the President was the Minister for Finance under President Mwai Kibaki
Albert Mwenda the Director General, Budget, Fiscal and Economic Affairs, was also being considered as Kamau Thugge's replacement as Principal Secretary.
Mwenda has is currently responsible for among other things, macro and Fiscal Policy affairs; (Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations; Financial and Sectoral policy issues; and budget issues.
Prior to his current appointment, he served as the Director of the Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Department of the National Treasury which he helped to establish.
He has made significant contributions to the recent development of Kenya’s policy and legislative framework for public finance management, including the management of fiscal relations between the two levels of government.
President Kenyatta was reportedly considering deploying Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua, to take charge as PS in an acting capacity.
Kinyua, 67, himself a former Treasury Principal Secretary, is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s most trusted confidants.
He has previously tried to retire but Uhuru would not let him go due to what many believe is his understanding of the “mechanics of statecraft”.
Yesterday, sources told the Star that Kinyua would in the interim act as the accounting officer at Treasury, taking care of the country’s purse as Uhuru prepares for an overhaul of government.
“Treasury is a busy place. It’s actually the engine of the economy. There must be some sense of direction and that is why Kinyua took charge,” a source familiar with the behind-the-scene intrigues told the Star.
It’s said that Uhuru is planning to drop at least three CS and reshuffle several PS as he moves to secure his anti-graft legacy.
East Africa Community PS Susan Jemtai Koech was also charged in the Arror and Kimwarer scandal, making reorganization of government inevitable.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has remained tight-lipped since the purge that struck government like thunder.
However, yesterday, State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena declined to comment on Kinyua’s role, only telling the Star to wait for the President’s communique.
“Just be patient and wait for a communication from our channels,” Dena said.