• Tuesday, 25 June 2024
Government addresses claims raised about Uhuru Kenyatta's retirement packages being starved

Government addresses claims raised about Uhuru Kenyatta's retirement packages being starved

 President William Ruto’s government has come out to address the scathing statement by former president Uhuru Kenyatta on the status of his retirement benefits package.

Mr Kenyatta through his spokesperson Kanze Dena on Monday afternoon told journalists that his office has been starved of its rightful packages among them the stipulated budgetary allocations, forcing the former president to foot bills the state should be catering for.

Government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura in a statement issued in the evening said Kenyatta’s office has been issued with 14 vehicles which the State House fuels and maintains.

“They also alleged falsely that their fuel cards have been blocked. We, however, put it on record that the vehicles are fuelled through the State House Master Card. Our records show that several vehicles were fuelled as recently as May 15, 2024,” said Mwaura.

He said the government has records of Kenyatta’s office’s care service history dating to as recent as May 15, 2024.

“The office also claimed that the vehicles are old and not deserving of the retired President. But the records are clear: The vehicles were bought in the years ranging between 2020, 2021 and 2022. They are, therefore, very befitting of the person of the third retired President,” Mwaura said.

According to the government, Kenyatta’s office has sent a request for four vehicles worth Ksh.140 million.

Kenyatta’s office had said it was allocated two Toyota Land Cruisers, a Mercedes Benz and a Range Rover used by former First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, which Dena said were however old, contrary to the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act.

“Four Toyota Prados are in use as follows. Three are in use by the security detail given to the former president and 1 that is in use by the office as well as 1 Subaru Forester,” said Dena.

She said Kenyatta has been fuelling his cars since the fuel cards issued by the government were cancelled and blocked from March 2023 to date.

On the issue of the state of Kenyatta’s office, Mwaura said the office of the late President Mwai Kibaki in Nairobi’s Nyari estate which he used between 2013 and 2022 and which the government purchased is a “suitable office for any retired President.”

“By rejecting this office and preferring that the government leases his own private home, the third retired president is inviting the government to violate procurement laws, regulations and procedures,” said the government spokesperson.

He accused Kenyatta of “want[ing] to be both a landlord and a tenant at the same time,” calling it “an adventure that the government cannot engage in as this is a serious conflict of interest.”

Similarly, on Kenyatta’s office staff, Mwaura said George Kariuki and Kanze Dena’s names have not been forwarded to the State House Controller for processing.

He maintained that Ruto’s government diligently pays the salaries of the retired president, his staff and their allowances; fuels his 14 vehicles; and facilitates all his travels.

“The Act provides that only four foreign trips should be fully paid for and for a maximum of 14 days. As for daily subsistence when on official duty, Public Service Commission and National Treasury regulations apply,” said Mwaura.

Kenyatta’s office had protested the lack of facilitating his foreign trips; to Ethiopia to attend a peace process led by the African Union and another to Burundi for the 11th summit of the Heads of State and government of the East African Community (EAC).

"In the year 2022/2023 parliament allocated to this office Ksh.655 million. To date the office can only confirm spending of Ksh.28 million spread across the payment of an allowance for domestic travel as well as facilitation of the 2 official trips that have been honoured so far," Dena told reporters.

"This is approximately 4.4 per cent of the total budget. This does not include payment of salaries and medical insurance. No other monies spent can be accounted for by this office."

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