Press Review: The day’s top stories at a glance
Today is Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
The world commemorates International Women’s Day today. This year’s theme, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”
You can read the Daily Nation e-paper here: https://epaper.nation.africa/
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s making headlines.
Margaret Nyakang’o, the Controller of Budget, has testified before the Parliamentary Public Petitions Committee, alleging that she was coerced into signing off on KES 15 billion, just four days before the 2022 general election.
Nyakang’o claimed that the funds were approved despite her reservations and went into people’s pockets. The Treasury had pressured her to approve a series of payments, including three tranches of KES 9.95 billion to the State Department for Infrastructure and a KES 6.01 billion deal in which the Treasury acquired a 60% stake in Telkom Kenya from Helios Investment Partners, a UK-based private equity fund.
Nyakang’o presented WhatsApp messages exchanged between her and then Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yatani, to demonstrate the coercion that took place.
In the messages, Yatani requested Nyakang’o to approve amounts of KES 8 billion for the Infrastructure Ministry and KES 2 billion for the Office of the President on August 4, 2022.
Nyakang’o explained to the committee that it was not a black-and-white situation, and there were many things they had to weigh before arriving at that decision.
Former Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i, is set to be charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and publication of false information, according to his lawyers.
Matiang’i’s legal team gave an ultimatum to detectives at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters, where he had presented himself for questioning over the alleged raid at his Karen home, to either charge him or they would walk out.
Azimio leader Raila Odinga, who arrived at the DCI headquarters shortly before 3pm, was denied entry despite insisting that he had a right to access the area as it is a public office.
Matiang’i was later released and his lawyers said they were awaiting notice for when he is due in court before leaving. The former CS left the DCI headquarters just after 4pm.
Rally driver, Maxine Wahome, is set to be charged with the murder of her boyfriend, Asad Khan.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) informed the high court that Maxine will face the murder charges on Wednesday, March 8. Last month, Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi granted the DPP and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) 15 days to file a report on whether to charge Maxine in connection with Khan’s death.
Initially, detectives intended to charge Maxine with causing grievous bodily harm, but the charge was changed after Khan died in the hospital from injuries inflicted during a scuffle. The DPP has also asked the court to detain Maxine at the Kilimani police station so she can undergo a mental assessment before taking the plea.
Khan died in December following a domestic dispute that led to him sustaining injuries and losing a lot of blood, which is believed to have caused his death.
Fuel shortage looms as marketers struggle to secure US Dollars
Motorists in Nairobi faced long queues and dry petrol pumps on Tuesday as fuel shortages hit the city.
The situation was reminiscent of a crisis in March 2022, which lasted several weeks and sparked a government investigation into the industry. This time, insiders say the shortage is due to fuel marketers struggling to secure sufficient US dollars to pay for imported fuel stored at Kenya Pipeline Company’s depots across the country.
The industry spends around $24 million per day buying and stocking fuel at petrol stations but has only been able to secure $31 million over the last five days, against a demand of $120 million.
Emergency talks between the marketers and commercial banks chaired by the Central Bank of Kenya saw a short-term deal struck, with marketers allocated two days’ worth of dollars to avert a national stockout. However, the situation could worsen if the industry cannot find a longer-term solution to the dollar shortage.
Bandits are using guerilla tactics in regions that have been declared disturbed and dangerous, according to reports. Military and police personnel are struggling to neutralise the bandits’ activities, as they frequently launch surprise attacks, ambushes, raids and other methods to counter government offensives.
Residents of the targeted areas have reported that the bandits often move in small groups and attack villages from different directions simultaneously. Additionally, the bandits’ ability to retreat to inaccessible locations has made it challenging for the military to track them down.
Elders within the Pokot community are thought to be emboldening the bandits by performing ritual ceremonies that adjure and charge the groups. The heavy security presence in the region has been criticised, and North Rift MPs have called for the KDF to take full charge of the ongoing police-led security operation in the region.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has dismissed a panel appointed by President William Ruto to recruit new electoral commissioners, ramping up pressure on the President.
Raila, who lost last year’s presidential election, has given Ruto a 14-day ultimatum to address a range of issues, including the cost of living and open elections servers. Observers say that President Ruto is facing a complex opposition, backed by former President Uhuru Kenyatta and almost his entire Cabinet.
Raila has launched pushbacks against Ruto’s administration, culminating in mass action threats that could stifle foreign and local investment. Meanwhile, Raila has announced a multifaceted roadmap on his mass action plan, which could include “unlawful usurpation of state power,” tax boycott, civil disobedience and street protests.
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is set to penalise larger companies for doing business with suppliers not listed on the electronic tax invoice registry in an effort to curb tax evasion and boost revenue.
The KRA’s electronic tax invoice management system (e-TIMS) will relay real-time sales data to the taxman for firms registered to collect value-added tax (VAT). Now, the authority is expanding the registry’s mandate beyond VAT to include all suppliers.
This new system will not recognise expenses paid to suppliers not captured in the e-registry, reducing a firm’s costs and inflating profits, ultimately increasing their tax obligations. KRA hopes this will bring small and medium businesses that are sometimes outside the tax net on board, and reduce the problem of fictitious invoices.
Gor Mahia faces uphill task as they take on Nzoia Sugar in top of the table clash
Record Kenyan champions, Gor Mahia, will face off against second-placed Nzoia Sugar in a top of the table clash at Sudi Stadium as the second leg of the 2022/23 Football Kenya Federation Premier League kicks off on Wednesday.
Gor Mahia currently sits at the top of the 18-team log on 37 points, but Nzoia Sugar is unbeaten at their Sudi Stadium base this season, making it an uphill task for the 19-time champions.
A win for Nzoia Sugar would reduce Gor Mahia’s lead to just one point, as the league resumes after a one-week break, during which the 2023 FKF Cup got underway last weekend. Gor Mahia will be looking to bounce back from a shock 2-1 loss to Mathare United in their previous game, which was their second defeat of the season.
In their last five meetings, Nzoia Sugar has had two wins, while Gor Mahia has recorded one victory, with two matches ending in draws. Defending champions Tusker will also be in action, as they welcome Bandari at Ruaraka grounds, while third-placed KCB face FC Talanta respectively. Twelve-time champions AFC Leopards host second-from-bottom Wazito at Nyayo Stadium.