By Outside Source
The disbandment of the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) was occasioned by massive funds losses incurred by the agency, contrary to speculation that the team has been bungled out due to infighting among directors. Tarry, they maintain they have not been sacked.
Who are we talking about: Munyori Buku, Dennis Itumbi, Eric Ng’eno, Munira Mohammed and James Kinyua.
Sources privy to the goings on at State House reveal an internal forensic audit on the utilisation of funds by the unit ordered by Deputy Head of Public Service Nzioka Waita revealed massive misappropriation and wanton abuse of office by the directors who raked in between sh20 million to sh100 million every time President Uhuru held events within the country which the unit christened ‘state functions’.
“While traditional government protocol officers handled presidential events; they (PSCU) first dismantled this department under the then Presidential Press Service (PPS) and introduced private players who sent bills worth millions of shillings after every event,” said the source. Most of the players were private events companies registered in the transition period after March 4 elections.
The money lost in the three years since the inception of the unit is believed to be in billions.
In 2014, the cost of hosting a presidential function in Kibera shocked the country when it was revealed it cost taxpayers sh50 million. The event organisers, Transcend Media Ltd, claimed they had created the ‘concept’. The event did not last 50 minutes.
Transcend Media Ltd. is among firms under investigations by the Economic Crimes and Anti-Money Laundering Unit for criminal activities related to NYS.
What PSCU did was to take away presidential public events and turn them into private money minting occasions. So brazen was their temerity to loot public funds trough managing the glitz and glamour of presidential propaganda that it went beyond just state functions associated with President Uhuru to First Lady’s Beyond Zero events.
Events Management under PSCU was an avenue to make hay while the sun shines. It had became a full directorate. Their actions were validated by the ever increasing need to project Uhuru’s events in the most romanticised manner.
Sometimes, it bordered on the ludicrous as red carpets would be rolled even when the function was a two minute planting of a commemorative tree seedling or the opening of a public toilet in Machakos. Sources reveal PSCU directors, alongside former Youth Enterprise Fund boss Bruce Odhiambo would call blue chip companies and parastatals demanding money, especially during Beyond Zero events. If money was not forthcoming in this manner, they would raid other government coffers, especially the NYS and the un-audited ‘security’ accounts of the Ministry of Interior.
The Kenyan Weekly has gathered that the first meeting between Nzioka Waita, the corporate sector blue boy poached from Safaricom and sent to Tony Blair themed Presidential Delivery Unit then whisked to the top – almost top – of the civil service ended in disarray when the directors walked out on him.
This was not the first time that PSCU directors walked out in such meetings. It had happened before. The recipient of their dubious honour was Manoah Esipisu, the official Spokesperson of President Uhuru.
Esipisu, according to multiple sources, had declined to be the mouth piece of PSCU. He could not read their press statements, most of which were filled with high sounding verbiage, curse words and bar chatter.
He had been poached from the Commonwealth. He had the experience to communicate Uhuru’s new agenda. His misfortune was that he came AFTER (emphasis mine) Uhuru had won. PSCU directors viewed him as an outsider; a beneficiary of their toil and sweat; a spoiler, a demagogue, a highly cultured folk for the murky underworld of presidential sh*t splitting.
Buku had been Uhuru’s PA when he served as Finance Minister. Ng’eno had been a beneficiary of Kalenjin slot at the Presidency while Itumbi had his histories with the ICC which served the boss, it can be argued.
When they lost favour with Esipisu; and later Waita, it was the beginning of the end. Not the end.