A parliamentary oversight committee has summoned Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki over questionable expenditures including an unauthorized helicopter ride.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) wants the CS to explain the expenditures during her time as the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Youth Affairs.
The office of the Auditor-General flagged the expenditures on the accounts of the Public Service ministry for the 2017/18 financial year. It emerged that CS Kariuki used a chopper hired by the National Youth Service (NYS) for personal use.
The chopper had been chartered to fly staff members at a cost of Sh7.7 million but the CS reportedly diverted it to drop her at the Windsor Country Club for a private function which was not in the approved itinerary thereby attracting additional charges.
Public Service and Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Mary Kimonye appeared before the oversight committee and initially failed to mention Kariuki’s name as the person who diverted the chopper for personal use.
“Confirm to this committee that the person who used this helicopter in question was CS Sicily Kariuki? Before you answer your question, remember if you continue to be protective of her this can go down on you very badly,” PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi said.
Garissa Township MP Aden Duale also pushed PS Kamonye into admitting that Ms Kariuki was the CS in charge at the time.
“You cannot hide the details from us, if we want to know who this person is we will know; we will just call the industry regulator to get the manifest. We can also get this information from the intelligence person who was present when the CS boarded the helicopter,” Duale said.
After the committee threatened to declare her a hostile witness, she caved in and asked for more time to get the relevant documents.
“Yes, I will go with that, Mr Chairman, pending my confirmation on this. Please allow me to go back and get the details before I respond to you,” the PS said.
The committee also heard that the ministry spent Sh2.3 million to hire mobile toilets for a one-day meeting of Sacco members that Ms Kariuki was presiding over at the Gilgil NYS College.
“This matter of hiring toilets as we can clearly see is a litany of irregularities, illegalities and impunity by the then CS yet this was her private meeting,” Mr Wandayi said.
Adding: “With this, it goes down without saying that Sicily Kariuki who was responsible for the hiring of the toilets is the same CS who used the helicopter for a detour to Windsor hotel. We will be calling her so that we can deal with her.”