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Executive order ‘set off deal on Ruto jet’

Ruto JetThe jet used by Deputy President William Ruto on his tour of four African countries in May was hired on the basis of an executive order by President Uhuru Kenyatta, officials from the Office of the Auditor General have established.

Director of audit at the Kenya National Audit Office Dennis Kariuki told the Public Accounts Committee that some documents that could be linked to the transaction had gone missing while some government departments had become uncooperative.

Mr Kariuki heads the team from the Office of the Auditor General, which is carrying out a forensic audit of the jet’s hire as requested last month.

The team was to hand in the report to the committee chaired by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba last Friday.

On Tuesday, Mr Kariuki explained to the committee why the report was not produced. “We have been informed that the procurement was initiated by an executive order by the President and we haven’t received that order,” he said.

Asked why they found the executive order a hurdle, he said auditors do not deal with verbal directives as decisions were made based on written instructions.

“If there was an executive order, there should be a (written) executive order. If it was verbal then it should be written. Auditors don’t deal with verbal orders, there have to be documents,” said Mr Kariuki.

South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya, however, noted that the claim that there was an executive order was suspicious.

“Whenever I have heard about the executive order, it is used for intimidation. Even the Constitution states that the order has to be written down. With that word alone, one is not able to work,” said Mr Nyamweya.

Article 135 of the Constitution states: “A decision of the President in the performance of any function of the President under this Constitution shall be in writing and shall bear the seal and signature of the President.”

Mr Kariuki told the committee that the Local Service Order (LSO), one of the documents used in the transaction, had been traced although some pages had been plucked from the book in which they were located.

On further inquiry about the missing papers in the books, a Mr Okoth from the Deputy President’s office was able to locate all but two with the serial numbers 0855003 and 0855005.

He said the auditors needed to see the missing LSOs to rule out the possibility that they could have been presented for payment, which could be pending in the government system.

They are keen to look at the entire arrangement because the initial story published by the Nation indicated that the government would eventually pay Sh100 million because the first quarterly payment was Sh25 million.

-Nation

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