Former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura on Monday exposed a secret deal that saw relatives of retired President Mwai Kibaki educated using taxpayers’ money.
Muthaura made the revelation when he appeared before a parliamentary committee to explain why Kibaki’s two grandchildren were flown out to study in Australia using money drawn from taxpayers’ pockets.
He told the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee that Kibaki awarded a scholarship worth millions to two of his nephew’s children through a directive to the then ministry of higher education.
Muthaura admitted that the Ministry of Education spent Kshs8.6 million to cover tuition, accommodation and upkeep for Ian Nderitu Githinji and Sandra Njeri Githinji in their first year in school.
According to Muthaura, Kibaki asked him to write to then Higher Education Permanent Secretary Crispus Kiamba, instructing him to offer the scholarship to the two students.
Kenyans paid for Sandra’s four-year-course in Interior Design and his brother’s two-and-a-half years’ masters degree in Analytics at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Their father, who Muthaura identified as Githinji, is the retired President’s nephew and had lost his job at a local company dealing in petroleum products at the time he needed to take his two children to school.
Muthaura informed PAC that it is at this point that Githinji approached Kibaki for assistance, adding that the two took their first degree and proceeded to the second one, hence taking a huge junk of taxpayers’ money.
” He (Githinji) has just lost his job at Oil Libya, struggled to raise money from his friends and relatives before ending up requesting for the President’s intervention,
“The students took their first degree and proceeded for the second one and that is why the amount is that high,” stated Muthaura.
The scholarship award was done in 2011 and at the time, Muthaura claims, the communication from Kibaki could not have the correct letterheads as all tools of office were not rightfully in place.
Rarieda MP Otiiende Amollo queried the move, saying the former president had abused office arguing he should have used his personal funds to support the nephew’s children.
“It is not evil to support your nephew but you don’t need to do that using tax payer’s money,” reacted Amollo, who is a member of the Opiyo Wandayi led committee.