Zeinab Hussein also known as Wanjiru Kinuthia the principal secretary for Correctional Services ministry has since her appointment worked hard to fight corruption within institutions that fall under her.
The PS who has roots in Juja, Kiambu county, to win President Uhuru Kenyatta’s war on corruption, has been preaching anti-corruption gospel but come night she is allegedly wining and dining with cartels involved in graft.
Sources say that it is just a matter of time that her own footprints will lead the investigators into her doorstep. Fear for now is, soon prisons will erupt in riots for lack of food supplies and lawsuits from suppliers set to pile up on her desk.
In a bid to help sustain the notion that previous contracts were awarded corruptly, the PS has been intimidating auditors from Auditor Generals office so that they can pen a report that favours her.
In her bid to get rich quickly she is ignoring even legal advice from her department and tells everyone who cares to listen that she has the ear of State House and also to extension the Kenyatta family.
Unknown to her, the Kenyattas do not condone corruption or criminal activities. Jackie Maribe who enjoyed great relations with the president is facing murder charges, so is Lilian Mbogo former PS Youth Affairs who used to enjoy unfettered access to State House.
Hussein who is married in Lamu has formed the habit of intimidating procurement officers to the extent to choosing to work with junior officers because senior officers are reluctant to follow her instructions.
The junior procurement officers, all too intimidated, are now running the show as PS Hussein would want.
Senior prison officers some with careers spanning close to 30 years are unfit to stand before the PS, according to inside sources.
“She insults the prison bosses saying that she cannot communicate with them since they are uneducated while she schooled in Harvard. They are always ordered to leave their mobile phones with her secretary and are given five minutes of her time, and remember they cannot sit down in her office, they have to stand. Even the commissioner,” said a source.
What is perplexing is that Zainab now says she was placed there by the first family to scuttle all efforts of William Ruto men to make cash. Her arrogance emanates from her believe that only she can carry those instructions.
Such is her power that apart from Interior PS Karanja Kibicho she is the only one with a chase car and to outdo the security PS she has more bodyguards than him.
But her flamboyance using state resources is not new. When she was Irrigation PS, she would demand to be dropped by government helicopter at her Karen home whenever she went to Galana Kulalu irrigation scheme. In the entire government only the president is dropped at his home, mostly State Houses by government helicopters. Even the DP is dropped at Wilson Airport.
As part of her march towards anti-corruption court, she has cancelled all tenders which is against public procurement and disposal act of 2015, so that she can retender in a mission to have her preferred suppliers win. This she hopes to achieve by intimidating junior procurement officers who she has placed in critical decision making committees against the civil service guidelines.
In a move to ensure that there are no riots in prisons as she retenders for new supplies, Zainab approached ministry of Transport supplies department to step in, but the department declined. She had even given her three preferred companies in supplies department data base for consideration.
Prisons countrywide now do not have essentials such as food, fuel, clothing for prisoners and officers notwithstanding fuel and also basic allowances. Nowadays prisoners have to contribute money to fuel cars to be taken to hospitals. Case in point is when Kenyatta National Hospital refused to treat Joseph Irungu aka Jowie because prisons had not paid the hospital outstanding fees accrued from treatment of prisoners.
Women prisoners do not even have essentials like sanitary pads as she refuses to allow suppliers to get LPOs until she allegedly gets her companies in line to supply.
She has insisted that there were no contracts signed by the time she came in but truth of the matter is that she has hidden the contracts in order to erase evidence, unknown to her. Those who won the contracts have copies and sources indicate they have already started trooping to DCI to report.
She tells anyone who cares to listen that she only reports to the president which has left many wondering loud.
The admirable indefatigable CS Fred Matiangi under whose prisons fall is also in the dark because his own PS has threatened and intimidated anyone who dares contact him about the situation in prisons. She openly boasts of compromisings MPs on the security committee of parliament. It is on these grounds she declined to appear before the committee.
And as a way to show she is powerful, she refused to walk to the gate of Ruiru Prisons Training College to receive the CS as is the protocol. The CS had visited the training school recently. Zainab stayed put at the commandant’s office until the CS arrived there with prisons officers who had gone to receive him at the gate.
When she was appointed as PS Irrigation, she suspended contracts in the same manner. The procurement tribunal ruled against her. Twenty three companies moved to the tribunal and it ruled thus:
“Where there is a tender in respect of a particular procurement process is still in force, a procuring entity must conclude the procurement process in respect of the said tender. It is not therefore tenable to have two parallel procurement processes in respect of the same procurement going on at the same time. A procurement entity must therefore exercise the power of termination with abundant caution and only after satisfying itself that there are valid and lawful grounds for termination.”