Powerful forces surrounding Uhuru Kenyatta and said to be out to influence the 2022 succession which they refer to as UK22 are not sleeping as they craft schemes to curtail William Ruto from ascending to power.
First was to force Ruto’s allies under pressure from state agents to drop their support for him or else face the music.
The DP’s supporters are on record stating that Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua, former presidential adviser Nancy Gitau and Interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho top the list of powerful figures in the corridors of power plotting against his 2022 bid. Also in the anti-Ruto scheme is Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe.
Mid last year, former Kamukunji MP Simon Mbugua blew the whistle when he claimed there was a powerful team calling itself ‘Putin’, that he claimed was supporting calls for a referendum on restructuring and broadening the executive, as part of a scheme to shortchange Ruto.
Since then, things have not been the same as Ruto’s diehards have abandoned his bandwagon among them EALA MP Aburu Mpuri, Nairobi governor Mike Sonko and Mbugua himself.
Ruto’s allies have been naming Uhuru’s family members and most trusted advisers as part of a plot to undermine him which is the clearest signal the relationship between the two has reached the point of no-return.
And from the political developments in the past few months, it seems, a new strategy targeting his sources of financial muscle to ensure he does not have sufficient kitty to compete for the highest seat in the land is being slowly worked on. The idea being, the DP has been using his financial war chest to push his agenda to the presidency and instill fear among his rivals.
Since the March 9 handshake, Ruto allies have been claiming people close to the presidency are using the graft war to intimidate their man.
But Weekly Citizen has established that the move was after it was discovered and the matter discussed in high level State House meetings with Uhuru being briefed to the effect that Ruto had planted his associates, mostly Kalenjins in strategic parastatals and ministries.
According to a our source, Ruto had by them created two centres of power in Jubilee one allied to him and another to Uhuru. The Ruto side had emerged too powerful compared to Uhuru side and even said the president was drinking at State House while they were ruling.
Ruto is said to have planted spies at State House to monitor happenings and debrief him on daily basis. The spies have since been removed.
With the handshake and after making some changes in his administration that brought in new faces at State House, many of who have no time for Ruto a scheme was hatched.
First, it was to strike ministries and parastatals during Jubilee first tenure in office which had been profiled as being led by DP lieutenants. Agriculture was then under Willy Bett. Ruto and Bett are inseparable. The DP was Bett best man during his wedding and pushed for his appointment in the first cabinet. Come the second cabinet composition, Bett was dropped and appointed an ambassador. His position was taken by Mwangi Kiunjuri from Laikipia far away from maize producing regions of Rift Valley and Western. Many had expected a Luhya to replace a Kalenjin if it came to the worst to address the plight of maize and sugar farmers.
Your favourite Weekly Citizen has established that Uhuru handlers were all aware that if a Luhya or Kalenjin was named into the docket, Ruto and his allies would still manipulate the holder and thus a Kikuyu with direct links to Uhuru was necessary.
Uhuru has been rebuking Kiunjuri in public at times threatening to sack him if he does not deliver. In the Energy ministry, Charles Keter’s influence was stripped and the ministry split into petroleum and energy. Keter is also close to Ruto.
During Madaraka Day celebrations in Kakamega while trying to address sugar farmers woes, Uhuru said the government was to release money that would directly be paid to farmers unlike before when it ended in the hands of corrupt individuals to bail out struggling sugar mills.
During Jubilee first term, billions of shillings were used to bail Mumias and Nzoia sugar firms with Ruto even delivering the cheques. To date, the said money cannot be accounted for.
Among the corporations where heads have been charged over corruption include Kenya Power, Kenya Pipeline and National Cereals and Produce Board, all headed by Ruto’s allies. No one in Uhuru’s side has been touched despite claims of graft in their ministries.
It has also emerged that the government has formed a special squad to mop out money hidden in homes of some prominent personalities, with the main targets being Ruto’s financiers.
Ruto’s Amaco Insurance, one of Kenya’s most popular insurance companies, is on its deathbed after the government failed to pay claims.
Employees at the firm have gone for months without pay and at least seven branches have been closed for operating at a loss.
Clients and staff have petitioned Insurance Regulatory Authority to investigate what is happening at the firm that landed lucrative tenders during Jubilee first term in power.
Amaco is also linked to the sale of a land running into millions of shillings to Kenya Pipeline Company. Last year, auctioneers stormed Amaco Nyeri offices and carried away property worth over Sh1 million.
The deputy president, according to sources, is also pondering how to repay a Sh1.3 billion loan he used Weston Hotel as collateral.
The DP used the title deed of the Weston Hotel land as security to borrow over Sh1.3 billion from two banks. He first borrowed Sh100 million from Equity Bank in 2011, before turning to Kenya Commercial Bank where he borrowed a total of Sh1.25 billion in 2014 and 2015 using the same title.
At KCB, his linkman was then chairman Ngeny Biwott who was last year replaced by Andrew Kairu as the board chairman.
Kairu, a close friend of Interior PS Karanja Kibicho has been an independent non-executive director at KCB Group and KCB since November 2016 and will serve for five years.
Ruto used the loan from KCB to repay the outstanding loan at Equity. To make matters worse, the National Land Commission and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority want the hotel demolished arguing the 1.77-acre parcel on which it is built was irregularly acquired.
But Ruto, through lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, has defended the process of acquiring the title to the land.
According to documents tabled before the NLC, Uhuru, Rachel Chebet Kimeto and Charlene Chelagat Ruto are listed as directors of Weston Hotel Limited.
The hotel, according to a valuation report by Zenith Management Valuers Ltd, was valued at Sh300 million. It is not clear whether other assets were used to guarantee the Sh1.25 billion loan. The valuation was commissioned in 2010 by Equity Bank.
Ruto charged the property to KCB and received Sh350 million and about Sh150 million facilities on June 30 2014. This charge was signed by Rachael and Charlene, both listed as directors.
On July 8 2015, Weston took a further charge of Sh700 million on the title, which was signed by Rachael and Charlene before lawyer Nancy W Gitau. This took the total loan charge at KCB to Sh1.25 billion.
All the charges were prepared by Hamilton, Harris and Mathews law firm.
Another shocker for the DP came when the government, behind his back, cancelled the leasing of houses to police.
This saw companies linked to him join a long list of those owned by influential individuals in losing millions of shillings in rent from the police force. The new police housing scheme was done behind the DP’s back.
Ruto had leased to the police houses, first through a company that is owned by his family members, and secondly through a real estate management firm, Legend Management Ltd.
Legend is listed as having rented out to the police officers 72 units at O’sere Flats in Ongata Rongai on the outskirts of Nairobi for an annual sum of Sh16 million.
The contract runs for three years from December 12 2017 to December 7 2020.
The 72 units were built on a piece of land that bears the same land registration number (LR 23132) as another set of houses which had been leased to the police by Matiny Ltd, a company associated with Ruto.
Matiny Ltd had leased to the police 98 units at O’sere Flats at a cost of Sh20.3 million per year for three years. The contract ran from June 4 2015 to June 3 2018.
Over that time, the company received a total of Sh61 million. This brings the number of units leased to the police by companies associated with the DP at O’sere Flats to 170.
Legend is also listed as the manager of Easton Apartments on Jogoo Road in Nairobi where the police had rented 100 units for Sh26.4 million per year.
Amaco Insurance Ltd, another company which has long been associated with the DP, is linked to the property. Their lease runs from February 28 2018 to February 27 2021.
Legend directors are David Cheruiyot Rutto, Geoffrey Kiprotich Koros and Boniface Kibiy Terer.
Insiders aver that Ruto was also planning to make a kill from the tender for supply of new police uniforms but was shocked when Uhuru ordered the uniforms be made locally.
There have been fights involving the multi-billions tender that was being pushed by Ruto and his associates, which Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i refused to approve.
Matiang’i is known to be close to Uhuru.
The CS even refused to sign the tender forms and instead asked the Inspector General if Police Joseph Boinnet to provide minutes from the National Security Advisory Council and the National Security Council supporting the recommendation.
Mary Wambui Mungai name features prominently in the police uniform tender wars.
Described as an astute businesswoman, Wambui has been a major supplier to the National Youth Service since the Jubilee government came into power in 2013.
Not to be confused with former Othaya MP Mary Wambui, she is a director of two companies, Chama Holdings and Puma, which have been doing business with the government since 2013 when the Jubilee regime came into power and which were to be awarded the police uniform tender.
She shot to the limelight when her name featured as a trustee in the Friends of Jubilee Foundation, a lobby group that was fundraising for Uhuru’s re-election.
Wambui is the only civilian known to have several guards and a chase car. She is one of Ruto’s 2022 principal financiers and is building a six-star hotel in Kiambu county.
Another Ruto financier who recently found himself in trouble. is Nakuru senator Susan Kihika’s husband Samuel Kamau who was arrested alongside 17 others over a Sh 64 million fraud case.
Mburu was arrested alongside his brother Hillary Kamau for evading taxes weeks after individuals living high life but did not pay taxes were warned.
DPP Noordin Haji approved charges against them over tax evasion allegation by Gendipe and Rupai Enterprises which cost the state nearly sh64 million in revenue.
Another Ruto ally that was used to fund his campaigns also facing charges include former Kenya Bureau of Standards chief executive Charles Ongwae and former director of Quality Assurance Eric Kiptoo.
Ongwae and Kiptoo were godfathers of Chinese businessmen who allegedly imported substandard goods into the country after paying bribes running into millions at Kebs.
The crackdown on Chines traders and their substandard goods was hatched by anti-Ruto forces to flex his financial muscle.
Investigators are also at Kenya Ports Authority to establish how two organisations and their clearing agent Landmark Freight Services Limited (run by the brothers) with the help of custom and Kebs officers concealed imported goods with the aim of evading taxes and reduced the amount of penalty payable for goods arriving without certification of conformity from the country of origin from the required 15pc of the total custom value to 0.5pc.
Investigations established that Gendipe Enterprises and Rupai Trading Limited imported goods from Dubai and declared to be imported machinery whose payable taxes are between zero pc to 10pc.
Subsequently, in the course of investigations, re-verification of containers established that the two contained cooking oil and assorted durable goods respectively, whose import ranges from 25pc to 35pc were discovered.
“Further, it was established that Gendipe Enterprises paid a penalty of Sh148, 816 instead of the required Sh4.4 million while Rupai Trading Ltd paid a Sh148,300 penalty instead of Sh4.4 million.
“In general, the country lost a total of Sh64,944,112 that would have been received as revenue,” the DPP stated. But with the spotlight now on his allies, it remains to been seen whether he will succeed in his mission.
Further, governors who have been contributing to his kitty, such as Migori’s Zachary Obado, Busia’s Sospeter Ojaamong and Narok’s Samuel Tunai are under the radar of investigative agencies.
Word has it that the anti-Ruto forces after discovering his allies were trying to penetrate KPA and National Social Security Fund, have moved fast and appointed no nonsense ex-military bosses to chair KPA and NSFF boards. KPA has Joseph Kibwana with NSSF having Julius Karangi who are said to report directly to the president,
At National Hospital Insurance Fund, Ruto was said to have been grooming former CEO Geoffrey Mwangi to go for Nakuru governorship race in 2022 on Jubilee ticket. Mwangi is now facing abuse of office charges. Remember Nakuru county is the home of Kinuthia, a former governor of the area and now one of the powerful forces at State House. It is not known if Mbugua will run for the seat 2022 after being defeated by Lee Kinyanjui in 2017 polls. As State House comptroller, he controls Uhuru’s diary.