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Azimio leader Raila Odinga. [Emmanuel Wanson]

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has demanded the resignation and prosecution of two Cabinet Secretaries for their role in a controversial oil deal that he claims is a scam to loot public funds.

In a statement on Monday, November 20, Odinga said he had evidence linking Energy and Petroleum CS Davis Chirichir and National Treasury CS Njuguna Ndungu to the illegal withdrawal of Sh42.97 billion from the consolidated fund, without the approval of Parliament, to subsidize “private financial enterprises” in the oil sector.

Odinga said he was shocked and dismayed by the response of the oil companies, the National Assembly majority leadership and Chirichir to the issues he raised last Thursday when he exposed the deal that President William Ruto announced to the nation in April 2023. 

He said the deal, which Ruto claimed would ease the economic suffering of Kenyans, was a sham that only benefited a few individuals and cartels at the expense of the public.

He accused the oil companies of state capture and complete takeover by cartels, saying they had the nerve to answer Kenyans when Kenyans sought answers from their government. He also accused the legislative arm of the government of being captured by the Executive and failing to perform its oversight role.

“We always knew that the legislative arm of government has been captured by the Executive and can no longer perform its oversight role. The response by the Leader of Majority therefore did not come as a complete surprise. It confirmed what we already know,” he said.

“What came as a complete shock was the response from the oil companies. Apparently, we have reached a situation where oil marketing companies, all with shady histories, feel confident and compelled to answer Kenyans when Kenyans seek answers from their government! This is the clearest indication of state capture and compete takeover by cartels. The cartels speak for the government, and the government speaks for the cartels,” he added. 

Odinga said he agreed with Busia Senator Okiya Omtata, who presented evidence of the government withdrawing Sh17.22 billion from the consolidated fund in June 2023, to subsidize “private financial enterprises.” 

He said he suspected that the money was linked to the Sh17 billion worth of diesel that was disputed by a woman named Anne Njeri and the two Cabinet Secretaries.  

Odinga said Njeri was a “private financial enterprise” funded illegally by money from the consolidated fund and received by the Ministry of Petroleum.

He said Chirichir and Ndungu had certainly committed criminal offences, abused office and violated the constitution by stealing money from the consolidated fund, in addition to spending money way above what Parliament approved.

“They must not only resign. They must also be prosecuted,” he said. 

Odinga also challenged the government to make public the memorandum of understanding it signed with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the oil deal, saying it must be a document signed by a representative of the two countries and the Republic of Kenya, not by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, ADNOC Global Trading Ltd., or Emirates National Oil Company.

He questioned why the National Oil Corporation, which has a legal mandate to participate in all aspects of the petroleum sector, was completely left out of the deal. By David Njaaga, The Standard

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