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Investigations

Siddharth Chatterjee: UN’s Man of Honour or Disgrace To Kenya

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SIDDHARTH CHATTERJEE

A job with the UN remains one of the prestigious opportunities many people look up to but humanitarian work is not a walk in the sandy beaches as Sid would later come to learn in life. The oomph and the glamour that the organization beams is just a painting but not really what’s inside. As for Siddharth whose name I keep bitting my lips struggling to pronounce and the UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, the math is more complicated. He’s the face of UN in Kenya, the backstops with him. As the head, he gets the balloons and stones which puts him in a position that only those fitted with crocodile skin can survive through.

Recently, UN Social 500, an in-house indexing platform ranked Sid at number 5 globally amongst UN employees globally actively using social media to champion for social good. This brings me to the main point of this article. Kenya is just coming from a lengthened period of ruthless politics that did not only end in election nullification, injuries and loss of lives but the reputation and characters of many people were left bruised as collateral damage in a highly ethnic country.

Kenya is exceptionally polarized with a sizeable tolerance to dissenting opinions, it is this factor that voting is predominantly tuned along tribal divisions. On the 8th of August, the general election was held but the presidential election that gave Uhuru Kenyatta the upper hand would later be nullified by the supreme court on the 1st of September and a fresh election would later happen in three months.

During this period, the international community including the envoys, observers, and organizations such as UN came under fierce criticism especially from the opposition NASA coalition accusing them of conspiring to rig in and endorse a fraudulent election of Uhuru Kenyatta. This was fueled by the speedy endorsement of the contested election by a majority of the western representatives. Many would be left on the focus radar and that’s where I picked up the story of Siddharth.

SIDDHARTH CHATTERJEE, a former Indian Army Special Forces Officer being decorated for gallantry.

Through UNDP which is a partner and a funder of IEBC, the UN was accused of meddling in the election in an alleged move to favor the re-election of Uhuru Kenyatta. In the crossfire, Ms. Sheila Ngatia the Assistant Country Director in UNDP Kenya, became a target of a vicious social media campaign of claims that her father is Mr. Fred Ngatia, President Kenyatta’s lawyer join to the conspiracy dots that she was working in favor of Uhuru, but when Kenya Insights later did a background check on the rumours on social media, we found out that Sheila’s father passed away 10 years ago and had no relations with the President’s lawyer.

However, the onslaught impugning the motives of the head of the UN Country Team in Kenya Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee didn’t stop but instead opened. His relationship with Jubilee government would specifically be scrutinized and a curious case of his close ties with Ambassador Amina who by then was looking for the top AU seat came into focus. He was accused of lobbying for her in a move that compromised the UN’s independence and nonpartisan stands.

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Kenya Insights had an interview with Sid an on this particular issue of lobbying for Amina which he vehemently denies. In his defense, he wouldn’t have taken a compromising position, “I as a UN staff have no influence to lobby anyone for a political position like the AU. Besides not only does it go against the principles of the UN  but contradicts all the values I uphold. I was specially invited to go to Addis to discuss the Kenya Ethiopia Cross-border programme, which has the potential of transforming peace, security and human development for the good. The President of Kenya and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia take this programme very seriously. . Ambassador Amina Mohamed and former Foreign Minster of Ethiopia Dr Tedros signed the MOU and wrote a joint OP-ED about this fascinating initiative. Kenya and Ethiopia: A cross-border initiative to advance peace and development..”The programme that was to foster tranquillity along the border for development was a brain of the two governments in partnership with the IGAD and the UN.

For many, the existence of Sid became a reality after the August Election, that’s when he started hitting the social media waves. We track back the talk from Matthew Russel who’s a UN HQ’s based blogger. He opened a case and pushed it to Kenya’s blogosphere on on dishonest Sid was at his work, in fact, it is through him that we came to know that the coordinator was a son-in-law to the former Sec Gen, Ban Ki-Moon, Matthew insists Sid’s appointment was not based on merits but influenced based on nepotism n his relationship with Moon, a claim that Sid himself laughs off.  “I met my wife in 2004 in Sudan during the Darfur crisis and married in 2006. This is well before Mr. Ban became the United Nations Secretary-General. In fact I joined the UN in 1997(10 years before Mr Ban and rose from an IFLD 4 in Bosnia to a P-5 in Somalia by November 2004.” An article to clarify this was published by Forbes –  Misread Nepotism At The U.N.: Why Siddharth Chatterjee’s Well-Earned Appointment Requires Explanation

Sid believes that he’s a target of fake news championed by the UN based controversial blogger, “Mr. Matthew Russell Lee, who runs a blog called Inner City Press. Over the last 10 years, he has repeatedly published malicious, false and libelous allegations against me. This started in 2007 and continues to date.” He said.

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“As regards my appointment as the UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya, perhaps a bit of background may help. Every Resident Coordinator has to pass a UN Resident Coordinator Assessment. Failure rates at the assessment are quite high. A private human resources company from Canada undertook the assessment during my time. I passed the assessment in 2008 and was proposed by UNICEF (the agency I served with) to become the UN Resident Coordinator to Namibia in 2009. I declined that job because of my personal situation” Sid explains.

He continues, “Just to clarify, I was invited to apply by UNDP for this role. Following that I got the support of UNFPA (I was the UNFPA Representative to Kenya) to do so, I applied for the UN Resident Coordinator role to Kenya in 2016. Again I went through a selection process called the Inter-Agency Appointments Panel and was shortlisted. Regardless of the decision being taken, the final decision rests with the Government of the country where an RC is being proposed to.”

Blogger Cyprian Nyakundi who has made a name out of controversy dwelling on fraud cases and accountability advocacy, accused the coordinator on his blog that he got together with John Kerry and Tony Blair to rig the elections in favor of Jubilee and that he profited from Kenya’s SGR project. We’ve however established that neither UNDP nor the UN had nothing to do with this project. Sid terms the allegations as “outrageous and malicious statements. This is not just absurd but totally fake news.”

For a soldier who later turned on his career to become a humanitarian and a development enthusiast, Sid holds a strong belief that Kenya is a beacon of hope regardless of the intrigues and turmoil it undergoes.

SIDDHARTH CHATTERJEE with US Ambassador Godec on finishing a 21KM race for the anti FGM campaign.

Mohamed Guleid, former Deputy Governor testifies
Mr. Chatterjee for having been at the forefront personally in the struggle for empowering those usually on the fringes of social and economic agenda, including women and girls, as well as the youth.

He has championed the delivery of maternal, child and adolescent health services to areas previously left out and brought private sector participation in remote North Eastern counties. We have witnessed the different organizations like UNDP, UNFPA, Unicef, WHO, UN Women, FAO and many others are making in the Frontier Counties. Here is an opinion piece by Mr Guleid. “Falsehoods targeting development partners end up hurting us”

Kenya Insights sought to know what is the motivational factor behind Sid despite being a target of negative publicity, especially on social media, “ I am the face of UNDP so it is easy to attack me. The fake news got propagated after the elections. I can take the attacks but will stand in between when it comes to my staff. The safety, security and reputation of my staff is paramount and non-negotiable. I will go to the end of the earth to defend them ” He said. “The man from Inner City Press reached out to others who are perhaps more gullible. As you can see he has an obsessed mind. He has the facts but is nudged on by vested interests.”  He adds. ” I have responded to his allegations but my response is difficult to find. So here it is: https://siddharthchatterjee-wws.blogspot.co.ke/2017/02/siddharth-chatterjees-response-to-mr.html

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As for the motivational factors, Mr. Chatterjee told Kenya Insights, “My father was a refugee from East Pakistan now Bangladesh. I have seen first hand on what displacements does to families and how it impoverishes them. I feel for people that are displaced by conflicts of natural disasters.”

“I have a personal mission to champion the rights of women and girls because I have seen how this half of humanity has been treated and what harm that is bringing to our societies. As a young officer in the Indian Special Forces, at the front lines of combat in counterinsurgency environments, I have seen how brutal and savage all parties to the conflict become. Again I have seen this in my work at the UN posted in Iraq, South Sudan, Darfur, and Somalia.” He continues.

A comment picked up from a colleague

“The years I spent in fragile environments will always remain a poignant reminder of the disparate harm that women are predisposed to whenever one form or other of humanitarian crisis arises. Some were victims of rape and torture, others were widowed at young ages, their husbands murdered or kidnapped. I have seen how rape is used as a weapon in conflicts. I have seen children as young as 5 being recruited as child soldiers. In many of the countries I have worked in, disease outbreaks, lack of water and sanitation were the order of the day. Reproductive health services, including midwifery outreach services, antenatal care, management of prenatal complications and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS were not readily available in conflict regions. These problems had particularly harsh consequences among women and children. I believe that access to quality health care must be a fundamental and nonnegotiable human right.” He concludes.

Sid who runs to work regularly and most Sundays does a 21KMs half marathon, wraps up our talk which is basically a right of reply to accusations flying around he quotes Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “If you want the truth to go around the world you must hire an express train to pull it; but if you want a lie to go around the world, it will fly; it is light as a feather and a breath will carry it.”


Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram

Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Send me tips to [[email protected]]

Investigations

Lobby Group Wants Co-Operative Bank And Nairobi County Assembly’s Salary Deal Investigated With Corruption Red Flags Raised

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Nairobi County’s Assembly.

A concerned city resident, Kelvin Njihia has written to the anti corruption body EACC and DCI to launch investigations into widespread corruption and impunity cases at the capital’s county assembly.

In a letter addressed to the two bodies, Njihia claims  there are serious integrity and public trust issues within City Hall. He alleges that the County assembly has gone against the set threshold by Salaries and remuneration commission restricting members not be in more than four committees.

According to his findings, most senior members in the board and their allies, have occupied more than four committees thereby contravening the law. The petitioner want members of the assembly occupying the extra committees to be investigated and prosecuted over corruption and the impunity displayed. He lists top officials flagged in his findings including;

  • Elias Otieno Okumu- 7 committees.
  • Esther Waithera Chege- 6 committees
  • Abdi Ibrahim Hassan- 6 committees
  • Peter Wahinya Njau- 5 committees
  • Peter Anyule Mwatok- 5 committees
  • Juliet June Ndegwa- 5 committees

 

Rest of the list

Besides, the concerned citizen coalition want the assembly to be probed as to how salaries of the members is channeled through cooperative bank contrary to the SRC’s directive and s contravention of county and national laws.

The petition also noted that the suspended County’s assembly clerk Jacob Ngwele who’s out of office over miss appropriation of funds still executes official duties despite the court’s directive. Ngwele in what the petition claims to be a contempt of court, recently invited public’s participation in approval of Halkano Dida Waqo as County’s Chief Executive Officer for ICT in what is flagged as one of many suspicious appointments.

The questionable advertisement signed by Ngwele on Daily Nation.

Ngwele himself was illegally appointed into office and being investigated for the same. Petition also want the commission to speed investigations and findings following the impeachment of County’s Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

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They want the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to give updates on the Majority leader of the Nairobi County Assembly Mr Ibrahim Abdi Hassan who had been summoned by the commission over the City Hall clash pitting members against Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

EACC ordered Hassan to appear at the Integrity Centre on September 12, 2018 to record a statement that will aid in the investigation of members’ conducts. He’s alleged to have conspired with members in wider plot to oust the speaker. According to the petition, Elachi was kicked out due to her lack of corporation in fraud schemes hatched by the board members.

Petitioner wants the DCI to dive in and investigate why the county’s salaries are being channeled through co-operative bank and not directly from central bank to individual’s accounts in what is read with suspicions.


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Investigations

FRAUD: Bungoma County’s Nzoia Water Services Board Sneakily Attempts To Impose Kennedy Wekesa Kilali As The MD

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Ag. MD Kennedy Wekesa.

Nzoia Water made an advertisement for open positions of Managing Director and Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management in daily nation dated October 23,2018 page 18 under anonymous company in western Kenya.

The following non conformities were noted which do not either conform with industry practices and approved operational HR Manual of the company as per the attached Advertisement:

1. The advertisement was only mentioning a leading water company in Western Kenya,excluding Kitale which falls in Rift Valley. Does it mean Kitale has separated from Bungoma and they have formed their own company? If not what is the effect of these on long term relationship with Trans-nzoia County?
2. The advertisement of MD’s position failed to meet the minimum threshold as per legal notice no.137 of 2012 which requires inviting the prospective candidates to have Masters Degree and registered members of respective bodies e.g  for Engineers should be registered with Engineers Registration Board(ERB) OR Institute of Engineers of Kenya ( IEK) and not Institute of Engineering Technicians (IET)  meant for Technicians who are lower cadre staff of the company.

The advertisement as it appeared on the dailies.

3. The requirements of chapter six was not observed in the advertisement which requires the prospective applicants to submit their chapter six compliance during the application as it forms part of shortlisting process and not to produce them during the interview.
4. The last advertisement through daily Nation were received without matching list from them,which resulted in most candidates who had applied not being shortlisted as their applications never reached the company’s offices. There’s no surety that the process will not be compromised in favour of specific candidates?
5. The Ag. Managing Director has failed to implement the inspection report by WASREB.(According to workers petition)
6. The advertisement should have been made either through the consultant or in the company’s name for it to attract competitive qualified candidates and not the way it is hidden as it is aimed to prevent competition and thus attract less applicants.
7. Therefore ,the recruitment process be stopped and the position be re-advertised in line with the above requirements.

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Investigations

Ruto And Duale Buys Off Biwott’s Air Kenya Limited As Attempts To Exempt The Duale’s From KPC Prosecutions Revealed

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Duale(L) and Ruto(R)

In Kenya, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Since the President intensified the fight and crackdown on corruption, we’ve witnessed arrests and ongoing prosecutions but at the same time, new scandals continue to crop up.

President announced a lifestyle audit on public officers and we’re yet to see the full implementation, however, we’re aware of ongoing money laundering schemes where ‘smart’ public officials including those in executive, are desperately laundering their ill acquired wealth before the lifestyle audit bell is hit.

Talking Of wealth, reports reaching Kenya Insights allege that DP and Duale jointly bought off Air Kenya Ltd previously owned by the late Biwott in what we’re told was a cool Sh1.8B deal sealed about two months ago. According to a source, the ownership is based on a 50/50 agreement between the two.

Air Kenyan is  now registered under Focus Aviation Mauritius and the Directors are Abdulaziz Aden (Duale’s son) and Adil Khawaja ( representing William).

Away from that, Kenya Pipeline is proving to be a hard not to crack for the DPP, for a parastatal with endless scandals, many have been wondering what’s taking Noordin too long to press play on his reggae playlist. But you’ll have to wait a bit longer, KPC comes with heavy political baggage.

Duale and Abdul Duale are heavily implicated in the KPC mess a detective source intimated to Kenya Insights. Joe Sang, the company’s MD who’s whole body deep in the murky scandal world will not go down without the Duale’s we’re told to show the levels of complexity in the case. Sources at DCI say that there have been open threats by the Duales and told that they had seriously invested in the government and that they are untouchable.

There’s a developing narrative that the DPP is delaying prosecutions yet the DCI have concluded their investigations on the KPC corruption. This one case that comes with political ramifications and questions are arising whether the DPP who happens to come from the same region with the Duale’s is hesitant on the consequences.

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”Touching Duale Family is a direct attack on WsR. That is a live wire.  Infact Dualle son Abdul is so close to Joe sang and Keter. DPP Knows touching that file is war.” Says a source privy to the investigations.

DCI uncovered transactions amounting to hundreds of Millions between Abdul Duale and Joe Sang’s cousin Hillary. When both parties we queried what the transactions were for they both claimed that it was not a crime to give money to friends.

“Chief architects of tender fixing at KPC are the Duale boys, they are so entrenched at KPC that even removing Joe Sang wont affect their activities.” Said another source speaking to KI. He continues, “KPC is a chess board for WSR and the Duale’s. At times they are united in Looting however sometimes they clash and fight bitterly when things don’t go their way. Duale’s are cunningly smart and share what they steal with management but for WSR its me, Myself and I. Thats what is going to finish WSR. His selfishness Unmatched.”

Abdul Duale is said to be the father’s right hand man. His finger prints all over state parastatals. At KPC they are involved in
1. Fibre- total was 1.8B
2. Devolution of KPC – 200M given to them. There was a big war between them and WSR over this.

3. Industrial area land was bought by a Company called Focus Logistics( Director is Abdulaziz Aden) at 150m and later sold to KPC at 600m 3 months later
4. Security consultancy. Awarded to Optilan UK and Black hawks eye (Aden duale and Abdul are Directors) value was 800m.

Mid November 2015 a meeting was called by One Abdul Duale ( Son of Aden Duale) at boma hotel. In attendance was Faith( Director KPC), Felicity Biriri( Director KPC), Joe sang (AG GM Finance then). The agenda was lack of control in KPC. The cartels had lost control as Previous MD Charles Tanui was sacked after Corruption allegations and his replacement was Mrs Florence.

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At this meeting of this 4 individuals a plan to oust was mooted. They had 2 Directors on their side already. Joe sang said he would convince Jerry and Neepee ( also Directors). The Kalenjins tasked Abdul Duale to Onboard John ngumi (Chair KPC) with whom they enjoyed a Cordial relationship.

A board meeting was subsequently scheduled 1 day before the Christmas holidays so that no eyebrows would be raised. In a Span of less than 1 hour Florence (Ag MD KPC) was ousted and replaced with Joe sang in Acting capacity. Mr Director kindly check the visitors book and Examine CCTV footage on 23Rd December 2015 at exactly 2:31 till 4:00pmYou will notice that Abdul Duale personally supervised the removal of Florence (Ag MD). Cctv footage from security will help you.

Abdul Duale was a close ally of Charles Tanui and often sat at the negotiating table for kickbacks on behalf of Tanui. When tanui left he became an orphan. Ag MD Florence had blocked all his contracts. Works were stopped and payments stopped also. He would visit Charles Tanui every other day probably to brief him on matters kickback.

After their successful mission to replace Florence the Cartel rejoiced and celebrated for days. Fast forward January 2016 Joe Sang os in office and alll cancelled contracts were reinstated. To begin with their was a Tender for Rehabilitation of the Nairobi – mombasa Pipeline that was awarded to The Duale family via Proxy during the Tanui Reign. It was Awarded to Center star Ltd. Amount was 490M. Florence (Ag MD) cancelled it after several issues were raised on the shell company.

The company had no experience for the sophisticated job that was to be undertaken. Mid January 2016 Abdul duale pushes for the reinstatement of the contract. Joe sang instructed the Mechanical team to reinstate it and he signed it off. A Kickback of 20M was delivered at Intercontinental Basement.
Distribution
joe Sang -6m
Faith and Felicity 6m
Legal – 2M

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The Cartel at KPC needed political protection and someone who also allowed them to eat unlike the DP who offered them protection but never allowed them to eat. DP would eat alone forgetting the team always. Political protection came via the Duale Family. Aden Duale and His son Abdul would protect Joe Sang from EACC, DCI and parliamentary Committees. In Return Joe Sang would be paying to the Duale family via Kickbacks.

The duales also provided the KPC cartel with money laundering options often charging them upto to 20% of the looted proceeds

1.Fibre Optic Cable

The Budget for this project was 300M. Joe sang gave instructions 6 months before the tender was advertised that this One belongs to Aden Duale. Duale and Son setup a Shell company and partnered it with JV of Express Automation.

All bidders quoted less than 300M including ZTE. Express Automation/white space quoted 880M. 500m Above the budgeted amount. The tender was marred by threats of deportation to ZTE from abdul duale if they ever appealed.

Beneficiary of the Kickbacks
Keter and PS – 100m
Joe Sang -20M
Lamek Rotich and Evaluation team -10m
Vincent Cheriyout – 1M

It will be a Futility if the political engines are not touched in cleaning up the KPC mess. As it stands, the political weight on KPC corruption continues to take toll as reports point at s conflict in the sense that both Ruto and Uhuru’s allies are swallowed into the multi billion theft at the oil courier. Kenyans are keen to see how the DPP will handle this case.


Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram
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