Senator Kipchumba Murkomen also a beneficiary of the scam
The unfolding corruption scandal involving the Kerio Valley hydro-power dam construction by the Jubilee government have hit new depths with damning revelations that cash deposits paid to an Italian contractor by the Kenya Government were wired back to Kenya as kickbacks and ultimately used to pay suppliers of building materials, luxury fittings and furnishings for well connected wheeler dealers,
The payments disguised as subcontractor fees were not only use to fund construction of homes and hotels but also used to fund private first class travel and helicopter rides for Tanga Tanga politicians, ghost suppliers, cowboy contractors, tax evaders and thieves of all shades.
The main beneficiaries appear to be Deputy President William Ruto and his close political allies who pocketed cash meant for the construction of water and power projects in Kerio valley.
This week, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations summoned directors of 107 private firms companies linked to the Sh63 billion scandal at Arror and Kimwarer multipurpose dams to record statements relating to Sh6 billion bribery and kickback scandal involving Italian construction firm CMC di Ravenna.
Sources at DCI told Kenyan News Day that the firm’s and their Directors were linked to various on going projects and purchase of high value assets.
The worst excesses, according to DCI sources, involved Deputy President William Ruto and Senator Kipchumba Murkomen who conspired with crooked firms to make fictitious project supplies with inflated invoicing as a means of diverting funds meant to benefit the country and the poorest communities of Kerio Valley to their own individual luxury projects.
For instance; Aquva Agencies with presence in Kisumu,Nairobi and Mombasa, Infinity Furnitures, and Tiles and Carpets Centre which are all Indian-owned firms, supplied huge amounts of construction materials such as steel, timber house hold fittings and high end furniture to Dolphin Beach Hotels which is being renovated at a cost of Sh600 million by Deputy President William Ruto.
Ruto’s luxury Dolphin beach resort is renovated on a 10-acre parcel in the North Coast overlooking the Indian ocean with extensive construction has been going on for two years and is part of Weston Hotel chain but under the name Dolphin Hotel.
The same firms summoned by DCI supplied all manner of materials for the DP’s palatial residence in Uasin Gishu County. Ruto’s plush multi-million shilling residence in Moiben Constituency, Eldoret town sits on more than 700 acres, has a complete private airstrip and helipads, several luxury guest wings, two olympic-size swimming pools, a library, gym and other lavish facilities.
Building materials, furnishings, fittings and equipment for Ruto’s home, known as ‘State House’ by local villagers, were supplied at inflated costs to these facilities.
Kenyan News Day authoritatively also learnt that another direct beneficiary of the scam is Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen who has maintained silence as the scandal exploded in his own backyard.
Murkomen is constructing a Sh200 million palatial residence in Nairobi’s upmarket area of Karen adjacent to luxurious Bogani Villas.
Murkomen reportedly obtained the property as his cut in the deal after he facilitated Senate committee meetings which approved the two white-elephant hydro-power dams.
Murkomen’s Nairobi home project received steel, cement, and timber for construction as well as imported fittings and other exotic furniture supplied by firms whose directors have now been summoned by the DCI.
Some of the luxury house hold goods were also transported to Murkomen’s new home in high end Elgon View Estate within Eldoret Town.
DCI investigators have unearthed cases of double and inflated invoicing to the public projects but with the physical goods being secretly delivered to the estates of private individuals.
Shocked DCI investigators termed the emerging abuse of office and betrayal of trust as outrageous.
As the scale of the scandal sinks in, it is clearly emerging that certain individuals in positions of government authority together with their co-conspirators in the private sector took advantage of official positions to engage in brazen embezzlement of public funds, including those intended for benefit of rural poor communities in the Rift Valley.
By AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, Washington, United States, Mar 23 – The ovaries of transgender men appear to remain functional even after a year of receiving hormonal treatment with testosterone, according to a small Israeli study presented Saturday in the United States.
Transgender men are born female but self-identify as male. Not all of them undergo gender reassignment surgery but lots of them take hormones to make their bodies more masculine.
Doctors from Tel Aviv-Sourasky Medical Center studied 52 transgender men aged between 17 and 40 for a year after they began receiving injections of testosterone.
They had access to the complete results for 32 of them, which is a small sample but studies of this kind are rare.
“Our research shows for the first time that after one year of testosterone treatment, ovary function is preserved to a degree that may allow reproduction,” said the study’s lead investigator, Yona Greenman.
“This information is important for transgender men and their partners who desire to have their own children,” Greenman said.
The level of the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) dropped off after 12 months of treatment but remained in the normal range for fertility, said the researchers, who will present their findings at the annual conference of the Endocrine Society in New Orleans this weekend.
The level of this hormone is an indicator of the so-called ovarian reserve and is used by doctors to assess the remaining egg supply.
There seems to be little chance of a reprieve for Kenyans against the ongoing drought even as they expect the long rains to start pouring down later this month.
This is because the drought, which has left at least 1.1 million people in need of urgent food aid, will not be ending soon and may actually spread out according to the latest predictions by the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD).
Cyclone Idai may have killed more than 500 people and devastated thousands in the southern African nations of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, but in Kenya, the storm is expected to leave millions hungrier, according to KMD.
According to the weatherman, the onset of long rains has delayed because the cyclone delayed the movement of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) — a belt of low pressure near the equator, “where trade winds of the northern and southern hemispheres come together” to create favourable conditions for rains.
As the government and food aid agencies continue distributing food and water to starving Kenyans in different parts especially in Turkana, Baringo and some parts of Coast and northern Kenya, more will need food aid in the coming months as the March-April- May rainfall is expected to be short and sparsely distributed.
Although above-average rainfall for most parts of the country was expected except for parts of Eastern Kenya and the Coastal regions in accordance with the Climate Outlook, the situation has abruptly changed due to the cyclone, said KMD in its latest weather update.
“The seasonal rainfall onset was also expected to be timely over several parts of the country. However, a tropical cyclone known as “IDAI” located in the Mozambican Channel has delayed the northward movement of the rain-bearing ITCZ,” said Stella Aura, the Acting director of meteorological services at KMD, in a briefing.
According to the update, “the cyclone significantly reduced moisture influx into the country and led to the continued sunny and dry weather conditions over the better part of the country.”
And more depressing is the fact that there is a possibility of more tropical cyclones which may further delay rains in the eastern parts of the country and prolonged dry spells in the western counties despite timely onset of the rains.
Also in play is the neutral to cooler than average sea surface temperatures along the Kenyan Coast and very warm sea surface temperatures to the east of which contributed to the delay in the establishment of the ITCZ over Kenya.
Former Civic United Front secretary general Seif Sharif Hamad has defected to the Alliance for Change and Transparency -Wazalendo party, ending a three-year leadership wrangle in Zanzibar’s leading opposition party.
Mr Hamad’s defection immediately after the High Court in Dar es Salaam threw out his petition challenging Prof Ibrahim Lipumba’s chairmanship of the Civic United Front was a culmination of behind-the-scenes negotiations with three Tanzania Mainland opposition parties as he sought an exit.
ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe on Thursday joined Mr Hamad in a homecoming tour of Zanzibar where they were expected to visit Mr Hamad’s strongholds in Pemba and Unguja Islands.
The CUF enjoys a near-fanatical following in Zanzibar and made significant inroads into the Mainland during the last general election in 2015, more than doubling its MPs.
Mr Hamad holds commanding sway among party supporters whom ACT-Wazalendo hopes to welcome alongside the man they say has remained steadfast in advancing their interests since the 1990s.
Prof Lipumba, who for years worked alongside Hamad, resigned from the position of party chairman in the heat of the 2015 elections, but returned in 2016 to claim the position.
His faction has accused the government through the Registrar of Political Parties of engineering the split in the party by propping up Prof Lipumba.
Mbarara Maharagande, a former CUF spokesperson, told The EastAfrican that at least one million membership cards had been issued to prospective defectors to ACT-Wazalendo.
“We are confident we will print as many more in the coming weeks,” he said.
Sources said that Mr Hamad’s faction settled for ACT-Wazalendo fearing stiff competition within Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) which was also likely to grapple with its own internal rivalries between their leading lights for the presidential ticket.
Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe hinted they were interested in recruiting Mr Hamad but said they have taken it in their stride his decision to join ACT-Wazalendo.
“We will work with him from his new base to strengthen our unity,” he said.
Awadhi Ali Said, a former president of Zanzibar Law Society said that Mr Hamad’s defection puts ACT-Wazalendo on equal footing with Chadema in coalition-building ahead of the 2020 elections.
“The defection also raises Mr Kabwe’s stake should he choose to run for the Union presidency, with Mr Hamad in Zanzibar,” said Mr Awadhi.
In Chadema, the defection back to CCM of 2015 opposition presidential candidate Edward Lowassa means the party will likely front Mr Mbowe or its firebrand Singida East MP Tundu Lissu for the top seat.
Mr Lissu is currently in Belgium, where he has been receiving treatment from injuries sustained in a failed assassination attempt in September 2017.