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MPs brand PS Kaberia as ‘the face of sports ministry woes’

IBRAHIM ORUKOBy IBRAHIM ORUKO
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Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia on Thursday found himself in trouble after a committee of the National Assembly identified him as the face of troubles bedevilling the ministry.

Kaberia looked on in awe as the Sports Committee accused him of corruption and stifling the development of sports, going to the extent of describing him as the “chief cartel” in the ministry.

In the din of the altercation, Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama declared the Ministry of Sports is a den of swindling public money and warned CS Amina Mohamed to be careful of her accounting officer.

The two had appeared before the committee to update the committee on the status of 11 modern stadiums that are under construction in line with the ruling Jubilee Party 2013 pre-election promise.

Wanyama, who was the PS’s chief tormentor, curtly told the CS to be wary of her accounting officer if she hopes to leave a lasting legacy at the ministry.

“The PS is the head of cartels at the ministry….you better watch out,” Wanyama said.

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The MPs accused Kaberia of having a patronising attitude and using his position to micro manage all semi-autonomous government agencies under the ministry to his benefit.

CONSTRUCTION OF STADIUMS

In particular they cited the case of Sports Kenya and the construction of the stadiums.

Sports Kenya is an entity established by the Sports Act, which, part from managing the country’s premier sporting facilities, is expected to develop modern facilities as well us improve the existing ones.

Kaberia, who sits on the Board of Sports Kenya by virtue of his position, had to fend off claims that he had taken over the running of the entity.

The MPs further assailed the PS over the slow works in the construction of the 11 stadiums, going to the extent of accusing of him having favoured his region in identifying venues to be constructed.

For example, while Kinoru stadium in Meru is under renovation at a cost of Sh889 million, they claim the PS influenced the construction of yet another facility in Chuka at a cost of Sh274 million.

The MPs say that while the two facilities are less than 100 kilometres apart, the entire western region did not benefit from the programme for the construction of the 7 regional stadiums.

They further accuse the PS of having influenced the award the contractor for the construction of Marsabit Stadium at a cost of Sh295 million.

However, Sh88 million has been paid so far and the only work done is bush clearing and the MPs blame the PS for it.

It was the chairman of the Committee Victor Munyaka who had accused the PS of taking over the functions of Sports Kenya and allocating unto himself, pointing out that this was the cause of the confusion that has been witnessed in the Ministry in the recent past.

The vice chair of the committee Korei ole Lemein went further claiming that the previous Sports Kenya director general had resigned after he found it difficult to work with the PS.

“The Previous DG suffered because of this PS. We have a lot to say about him but let him know we are not happy,” he said.

“We need your opinion on this because the PS is handling all the activities of SAGAs. He is micromanaging everything at the Ministry,” Munyaka said, asking the CS to explain what should happen if the functions allocated to Sports Kenya by law are being executed by the PS.

Wanyama lurched in, and citing the example of the Kenyan team to the African Games last August in Rabat, Morocco, blaming the PS for the problems the team encountered during the tournament.

During the games, the boxing team was not kitted with the national uniform, the national basketball team flew out without a reserve player for the Fiba AfriCon event while the swimming team was not given its allowances.

Wanyama attributed the basketball’s team loss to the absence of a reserve player, a position he told the committee was awarded to a non player.

“If you are relying on this PS you will be in trouble. Mr Kaberia has never helped sports development,” Wanyama charged.

The PS defended himself telling the committee that he has no capacity to take over the functions allocated to Sports Kenya saying the committee was attacking his character without due regard to his capacity to defend himself.

He said when the decision on the construction of the stadium was made, he had not joined the Ministry as he was Kenya’s envoy in Brazil.

“It’s unfair for the MPs to make these claims against me,” he said.

The CS did not make any comment in regard to the claims by the MPs on her PS, but assured the Committee that there was need for a meeting to discuss the gaps in the Sports Act.