An audit of operations at the Tana River Development Authority (TARDA), which was leaked several months ago, has revealed a number of questions in the operations of the body and its use of public funds.
The detailed report, originally obtained from here can be downloaded here (307 KB PDF). The report is nothing less than a detailed manual on how to fleece a government parastatal – from ghost workers, to work done Kshs 45 million but no contract, to unnecessary pesticides, allocation of Kshs 35 million to plant rice that wasn’t planted (but money spent), and payment of domestic works for (5 each) for the MD and Deputy MD.
We find it curious that months later, there has been scant media reporting about the scandal and little or no government reaction to the report…especially in light of recent reports that Kenya is about to face yet another drought. To make matters worse the current MD had been previously fired for stealing from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is on no one’s radar. Wouldn’t it be great to have a day of news that doesn’t focus on the newest political (read tribal) alliance, but instead focuses on how the government is fleecing taxpayers?
To give credit where credit is due, at least several Member of Parliament have raised the issue of TARDA’s mismanagement in Parliament – including the selection process of the current MD. However, the Minister’s Response is insulting to say the least..read on.
APPOINTMENT OF TARDA MANAGING DIRECTOR (from Hansard 23rd July 2009)
Mr. Linturi: Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Regional Development Authorities the following Question by Private Notice.
(a) What is the name, qualifications as well as the procedure the Minister used in the
recruitment of the current Managing Director of Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA)?
(b) Was due diligence carried out in establishing his qualifications and suitability for the job and was the appointment in conformity with the Government regulations or guidelines regarding the appointment of such officers?
(c) Could the Minister confirm that the Managing Director is the subject of corruption
related investigations arising from his conduct during his tenure in the diplomatic service?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have not received a written answer from the
The Minister for Regional Development Authorities (Mr. Gumo): Hapana uliza
maswali mengi hapa! Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) The name of the current Managing Director of TARDA is Mr. Francis Musumba
Agoya. He is a Bachelor of Commerce Degree holder. The procedure that was used in the
recruitment of the Managing Director was as follows:-
(i) The Board of TARDA advertised the vacant position in both the Daily Nation and The
Standard newspapers on 3rd February, 2009. A human resource consultant, M/s Manpower Services Limited, was appointed to assist the Board in the recruitment process. A sub-committee comprising of a number of Board members, including the Chairman, was appointed to work with the human resource consultant in carrying out the recruitment process. Following the advertisement, 94 applications were received. The consultant shortlisted 11 candidates for further interview. The sub-committee, with the assistance of the human resource consultant, interviewed the 11 shortlisted candidates on 23rd March, 2009 and shortlisted the under-listed three suitable candidates , whose names were forwarded to my office by the Chairman of TARDA on 2nd April, 2009 for consideration.
In exercise of the powers conferred to me under Section 10(i) of the Tana and Athi Rivers
Development Act, Cap.443, and in my capacity as the Minister for Regional Development
Authorities, I appointed Mr. Francis Musumba Agoya to be the Managing Director of TARDA for a period of three years with effect from 24th June, 2009. As required by the law, the appointment was published in the Kenya Gazette Volume CX1, No.62 of 17th July, 2009. Giving due regard of that recruitment procedure, the appointment was in conformity with the existing Government regulations and guidelines.
(b) I believe that TARDA and the consultant were duly satisfied with the qualifications
and the suitability of the three candidates that they had recommended to my office for
consideration for appointment to the post.
(c) I am not aware and, hence, cannot confirm that the Managing Director is subject to
corruption related investigations arising from his alleged commissions during his tenure in the diplomatic service.
Mr. Linturi: Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg the indulgence of the Chair to
enable me to take the Minister through what is happening within his Ministry. There are issues or
matters that he may not be aware of or if he is, then he may be very ignorant of some of the
regulations that are supposed to be observed in the appointment of parastatal heads.
I want to bring to his attention a circular from Amb. Muthaura regarding the procedure.
Paragraph 2 reads:-
“The CVs of all persons to be appointed to these offices must be sent to the Office of the
President for vetting in order that the people who are appointed do not have bad records which in
future may be used to embarrass the Government.”
I am saying that because Mr. Agoya was dismissed from the Civil Service vide a letter
dated 27th August, 1997, for theft. When he was working at the Kenya Embassy in France, he
stole French Francs 246,000 from the Embassy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs dispatched a
team of detectives headed by Chief Inspector Chege Gathogo by whose recommendations, Mr.
Agoya was sent back to Kenya for prosecution, which has never been done to date. Lastly—
The Temporary Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ethuro): What is your question, hon. Linturi?
Mr. Linturi: Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, could the Minister tell us why due
diligence was not conducted to establish the character and the integrity of that particular person
by the name Agoya? In the list of the three shortlisted candidates, there were candidates who
even scored higher marks than Mr. Agoya as presented to the Minister by the Board of
Management. Why was there no due diligence?
Mr. Gumo: Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first, the TARDA Act empowers the
Minister for Regional Development, who is me, to appoint a Managing Director even without any advertisement. Therefore, any regulations that the hon. Member has quoted are not in the law. Secondly, I do not have to advertise. I can even appoint you tomorrow because the law is very clear here. Thirdly, what the hon. Member has said is not true. What happened in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at that time happened before Mr. Agoya was appointed. I have the report which I can give to the House. Therefore, those events are only being connected because the person they wanted was not appointed. When I am given three names, it is not my responsibility to go round looking at how many marks each one of them scored. It is not a classroom. They are not supposed to give marks. They are supposed to recommend three names and the Minister is supposed to appoint one out of the three candidates. That is what the law says.
Mr. Linturi: On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I find the Minister
quite out of order. He is misleading this House. The report which I am about to table before this
House was initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was conducted by the Criminal
Investigations Department (CID). They recommended that Mr. Agoya should be charged with
fraud contrary to Section 331 of the Penal Code. Is the Minister trying to say that because he has the power, he can even appoint thieves or thugs to head parastatals?
Mr. Gumo: Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, these are things that happened 20 years
ago. If the hon. Member was aware of this—- Since I was given the three names, I stayed with the information in my office for three months from March up to the other day. There was no complaint or report or anything until the day Mr. Agoya was appointed. That is when they cam up with these reports which are not true. All these reports are not true. These things have been made in the streets and brought here.
The Temporary Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ethuro): Order, Mr. Minister! These are reports
which have been produced in the House. The House is not the streets.
Mr. C. Kilonzo: Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it appears as if this is a country for
the rich. If you look at the current advertisement for NYS recruitment, you will see that one of
the things they are asking from that common man who wants to join the institution is a certificate
of good conduct. There is a letter here dated 25th May, 2005, from the Director of CID asking
why this man has not yet been prosecuted. It appears as if this man is well-connected. He can
steal and not get prosecuted. The reason why he was dismissed is because he had a bad character.
He was a given a job and went away. He was dismissed according to the letter here dated 27th
August, 1997, on account of desertion of duty. What we are asking is very simple: Does this
Government not have some code of conduct or a guideline on ethics? How can we go on picking
someone who is supposed to be prosecuted and yet he does not get prosecuted since he is well-
connected? Is the Minister suggesting that every hon. Member should bring one thief so that he
can recruit them?
(Mr. C. Kilonzo laid the documents on the Table)
Mr. Gumo: Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am not aware of the documents that
they are referring to. Lay them on the Table so that we can look at them. I am not aware. If there was any complaint, they should have written a letter with regard to the issue earlier to my office or complained to the Board. Why did they have to wait until the appointment was done and the name gazetted so as to bring the issue here? I am not aware of all these documents. Let me look at them.