CS Kariuki in a spot for spending Sh2 million on toilets and catering and a Ksh7.7M helicopter ride
Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has been dragged into an alleged helicopter ride scandal that saw millions of money spent.
It has emerged that she diverted the chopper to a private event. The National Assembly Public Accounts Committee heard that the National Youth Service hired a chopper in 2017-18 for Sh7.7 million for fieldwork staff traveling to various destinations.
After the fieldwork, the chopper was to end the trip at Wilson Airport, but the CS allegedly diverted it to drop her at Windsor, which was not in the approved itinerary, thereby attracting additional charges.
According to the Auditor General report, Sh7,739,513 was paid to a service provider for the provision of helicopter services to NYS staff traveling to various destinations.
Public Service and Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Mary Kimonye and NYS Director-General Matilda Sakwa declined to name Kariuki as the officer who used the helicopter against a sustained push by the committee chaired by Ugunja Member of Parliament Opiyo Wandayi to confirm it was her since she is the one who served in the docket during the period under question.
In a written submission, PS Kimonye told the committee that the chopper was used to give a ride to “a senior officer” who was coming from a field activity to an official function at Windsor, Nairobi.
One of the officers in the company of the PS upon probe by the MPs said it was “the CS” but declined to go on record on further inquiry by the committee members.
Wandayi said the committee will consider inviting Kariuki to respond to some of the audit queries, including the expenditure on the hiring of the toilets.
“This matter of hiring toilets as we can clearly see is a litany of irregularities, illegalities, and impunity by the CS yet this was her meeting. It goes without saying that Sicily Kariuki who was responsible for the hiring of the toilets is the same CS who used the helicopter for her detour to Windsor hotel,” said Wandayi.
Garissa Township MP Aden Duale threatened sanctions against the PS for trying to conceal information from the committee investigating questionable expenditures by the service.
“You cannot hide the details from us, if we want to know who this person is, we will know, we will just call Kenya Airports Authority and get the manifest. We can also get this information from the intelligence personnel who were present when the CS boarded the helicopter,” said Duale.
Funyula MP Wilberforce Oundo also took issue with Kimonye’s failure to reveal the name of the person who boarded the helicopter.
“You cannot tell me for all these years, madam PS, you have never been bothered to know who is this nameless person who used the helicopter. If you continue like this the committee will cite you,” said the MP.
The committee also demanded to know how the CS authorized the expenditure of Sh2.3 million to be spent to hire toilets and catering services without any due process.