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Treasury nominee, Njuguna Ndung’u put to task over weak shilling and collapsed banks

Treasury nominee and former CBK Governor, Njuguna Ndung’u put to task over weak shilling and collapsed banks.

Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, the nominee for Treasury Secretary in the Cabinet, was questioned by lawmakers on Tuesday over allegations that he presided over bank failures while serving as the Central Bank of Kenya’s governor (CBK).

When he was in charge, the MPs on the Committee on Appointments were intrigued as to what he did or didn’t do that resulted in a weak shilling.

Ndung’u was specifically questioned by National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa about the reasons behind the failure of various banks, notably Chase and Imperial banks, when he was CBK Governor.

However, Treasury nominee Njuguna Ndung’u denied claims that he was to blame for the collapse, instead blaming the collapse on other factors.

“During my time, there was no bank that collapsed. I agree there were problems and what we did was to develop solutions so as to save the markets. There were several mergers and those mergers were geared towards preventing any collapse of banks because market situations do change,” Ndung’u told the MPs.

He also defended the decisions he made regarding the mergers, saying that he was just doing his job as a regulator.

“A regulator is not someone who is waving an axe in the market. A regulator is a person who is trying to understand the market, help develop the market, and regulate and protect the market, and that’s what I did,” he stated.

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Opiyo Wandayi, the minority leader, also questioned the decision made by Ndungu’s leadership to grant the currency printing contract to the De La Rue company, which resulted in an estimated loss of Sh3 billion for the public.

Njuguna was charged with actively taking part in the contentious decision to cancel the 2008 tender for the printing of the new generation of bank notes.

“I have been a victim of abuse of the criminal justice system. The procurement tender was to ensure Njuguna is out of the Central Bank of Kenya,” he said.

He also denied claim that his wife went on a luxurious holiday in Thailand funded by Imperial Bank when he served as CBK Governor.

He said he is the one who funded the trip.

Ndungu in his submission told the committee that one of his notable achievements at CBK was when Safaricom sent off MPesa, a versatile cash move administration that has placed Kenya on the worldwide innovation map.

Prof Ndung’u who served as CBK boss from March 2007 until March 2015 also revealed his net worth at Sh950mn.

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