KENYA SUMAKU

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Pyramid schemes: The source of campaign funds?

Posted by Popular Ombudsman on June 6, 2009

By Beauttah Omanga-E.A. Standard 6th June

Former Ministers Njeru Ndwiga and Andrew Ligale have denied any role in the pyramid schemes that defrauded Kenyans of more than Sh34 billion.

At the same time, President Kibaki’s former aide Stanley Murage also denied role in the scam as alleged in Parliament. He said he had never associated himself with pyramid schemes in his public life.

The former PS said he was surprised his name had been dragged into the scheme yet he was never given a chance to defend himself before the (Francis) Nyenze taskforce.

Tangible Evidence

“The Co-operatives Minister should make public the taskforce’s report accompanied by tangible evidence linking me with the illegal pyramid scheme,” he said in a statement to the newsroom. He said it was regrettable that MPs were using parliamentary privilege to attack innocent individuals for political gain.

“I wonder whether it is too hard for the MPs to verify weighty matters before misleading the public,” he said.

Ndwiga and Ligale termed their presence in the report as malice and demanded that police arrest the “real masterminds of the schemes and stop using us as scapegoats.”

The former Co-operatives Minister read sinister motive by his successor in the ministry on setting up the taskforce headed by former Cabinet Minister Francis Nyenze.

“The whole circus is aimed at tarnishing my name. Why on earth did the minister have to waste public resources to set up a taskforce to investigate what the country’s top intelligence and the CID have details about?” posed Ndwiga.

He termed the taskforce a waste of public resources and accused MPs of engaging in irrelevancies.

He said before he left the ministry, he had filed a report to the CID headquarters, and expected immediate prosecution of the suspects.

“I made a brief to the CID director in which names of the masterminds were. Why did the minister have to set up a commission to investigate the obvious?

Parliament immunity

“What Kenyans would have expected my successor at the ministry to do was to continue from where I left as far as the schemes were concerned,” he said.

Addressing a press conference at his Anniversary Towers office in Nairobi, Ndwiga dared those who linked him to the scam to repeat the same outside Parliament.

He said he never operated any pyramid scheme and had ordered deregistration of the schemes after Governor of Central Bank warned the public against putting their money in them.

“When I released that statement following the warning by CBK Governor, many of the masterminds quickly rushed to register the pyramids as cooperative societies. I immediately ordered their deregistration. I can’t be held accountable for actions Kenyans took by continuing to invest in the schemes even after warning them,” he added

He said all those who came up with the idea were criminals who should be prosecuted.

Donde’s brother

On his part, Ligale who is the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission chairman, said his only crime was to introduce the man behind one of the schemes, Deci, to Vihiga constituents when he was their MP.

“I admit I introduced Mr George Donde to my constituents when I was an MP. I never influenced my constituents to invest but left them to decide depending on what they were told by Donde,” he said.

He said former Gem MP Joe Donde introduced George to him.

“I trusted Donde as my colleague in Parliament and offered to introduce his brother to my constituents. Little did I know the idea which sounded too good to let go was to collapse and lead to a massive rip-off,” reacted Ligale.

Speaking to the Standard on Saturday at his IIBRC offices in Nairobi, Ligale said he made his role known to the Nyenze taskforce and accused MPs of maligning him.

He said he never benefited from the scheme and called for the arrest of the masterminds of the scheme.

-Are the culprits in these pyramid schemes so secret? Do we not know who was running the offices through out Kenya and who was calling the shorts? Anyway, what happened to the suspects? Why were these schemes in overdrive just before the elections? Without a doubt, some senior people in government know much about them!-Editor

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