Nancy Karigithu vs Accountability

Ambassador Nancy Karigithu
Ambassador Nancy Karigithu

On 13th January 2023, the Nation Media owned Business Daily (BD) newspaper carried an article titled “EX-MARITIME PS SUES STAFF AS SHE FIGHTS FOR GLOBAL JOB” purporting that Nancy Karigithu had sued one Mr. Kiptanui for defamation at the High Court at Milimani, Nairobi.

Nancy Karigithu was the Principal Secretary (PS) for the State Department for Shipping and Maritime for 7 years, from January 2016 to December 2023.

She has been nominated as Kenya’s candidate to vie for the position of the Secretary-General (SG) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in elections to be held in June 2023.

The said BD article reported that Nancy Karigithu alleges in the court case that Mr. Kiptanui’s defamation is a smear campaign on her IMO SG candidature.

Following the BD article, Mr. Kiptanui on 16th January 2023 released a “right of reply” seen by this blog saying that concerned family members, friends, colleagues, well-wishers, and other interested persons had inundated him with calls, texts, and WhatsApp messages inquiring on the said BD article.

He says that he issued the “right of reply” in the public interest to shade light on the matter as reported in the BD article and widely publicised in maritime-industry WhatsApp groups and other social media, locally and internationally.

Mr. Kiptanui said he welcomes the Court of Public Opinion to prima facie give judgement, saying that Nancy Karigithu was yet to serve him the suit papers even after the BD article reported that the matter was coming up for hearing.

He provided the following email for further inquiries: [email protected]  

Mr. Kiptanui said in the “right of reply” that on 2nd November 2022, he sent by email to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) information in a 53-page report, including the relevant evidence, showing allegations of corruption, abuse of office, and embezzlement of public funds by Nancy Karigithu. He provided a redacted copy of the confidential report.

He said that the information and disclosure to EACC was in utmost good faith and strictly confidential, believing that EACC should protect his identity as bound by the EACC Act. On 16th November 2022 EACC replied to acknowledge receiving the information and that it was ‘reviewing’ the complaint.

However, Mr. Kiptanui was shocked that through a most serious breach of its statutory obligation on confidentiality, EACC unlawfully gave or leaked to Nancy Karigithu his confidential report against her.

He says it is his EACC-leaked confidential report of Nancy Karigithu’s alleged corruption that Nancy Karigithu obtained illegally and unwisely, perhaps stupidly, used as the substratum of her High Court suit against him.

The said BD article reported that Nancy Karigithu alleges in her suit that Mr. Kiptanui “authored a defamatory letter dated November 3, 2022, addressed to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission chief executive linking her to fraud, embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, abuse of office, breach of trust and dishonesty.”

The article further said that Nancy Karigithu claims that my confidential report to EACC is a smear campaign intended to frustrate her bid to contest for the position of Secretary-General (SG) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

However, Mr. Kiptanui says he started preparing the detailed confidential report and gathered the relevant evidence of Nancy Karigithu’s alleged corruption long before her nomination to vie for the IMO SG position.

He then emailed the report to EACC on 3rd November 2022 at 11:13am while the Statehouse Twitter account first published and publicised the news of Nancy Karigithu’s nomination on 3rd November 2022 at 8:42 pm.


Based on this chronology of events, he says it is inconceivable that his formal complaint of corruption against Nancy Karigithu is a “smear campaign” intended to “frustrate” her ill-fated candidature for IMO SG.

Mr. Kiptanui further says that Nancy  Karigithu’s suit alleging defamation based on his confidential report to EACC – that she obtained illegally – is a legal absurdity because the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, section 65 provides that no action or proceeding, including a disciplinary action, may be instituted or maintained against a person in respect of (a) assistance given by the person to the Commission or an investigator; or (b) a disclosure of information made by the person to the Commission or an investigator.

Mr. Kiptanui states that allegations of Nancy Karigithu’s corruption while in office have rapidly caught up with her since she left office in December 2022 and now, the IMO Member States whose support and vote she is canvassing for election as the IMO SG, are understandably questioning her integrity and competence.

Indeed, we have previously carried reports on Nancy Karigithu’s corruption and incompetence, such as on 26th October 2022 “Looting Granny: Shipping & Maritime PS Nancy Karigithu In Last Minute Looting Of KMA As Term Expires” and 4th February 2022 “Bandari Maritime Academy And Kenya Maritime Authority Issuing Kenyan Seafarers Unlawful And Worthless Certificates”

Mr. Kiptanui says Nancy Karigithu must not conflate the integrity and incompetence holes sinking her IMO SG candidature in the Bermuda Triangle with the lawfully mandated requirement for her to account for the allegations of corruption, abuse of office, Maritime State Capture, contravention of written laws, incompetence, etc., during her tenure as the Principal Secretary for Shipping and Maritime in the Last Administration.

He listed the many such allegations of corruption against Nancy Karigithu as follows:

(1) Corruption, abuse of office, and contravention of public finance management laws during her tenure as the Director-General of Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) when she connived with shippers and refused to collect Merchant Shipping Levy causing the government a loss of over Ksh. 2,700,000,000. (Two Billion Seven Hundred Million).

(2) Corruption, abuse of office, and contravention of public finance management laws where in 2014 as KMA’s Director-General (a) she bought Government-owned land registration LR XLVII/128 from a private entity and (b) she paid Ksh. 200,000,000 (Two Hundred Million) for the land she has asked the Ministry of Lands to value; and it was valued at Ksh. 150,000,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Million), (c) She further spent unbudgeted Ksh. 20,000 000 (Twenty Million) on land transactions.

(3) Abuse of office, fraud, and embezzlement of public funds during the COVID-19 travel restrictions in the United Kingdom during which she, as Principal Secretary, directed Kenya Maritime Authority to spend over Ksh. 12,000,000 (Twelve Million) of public money to pay her per diem and flights when she travelled to London several times to “attend” meetings held virtually. She also earned double per diem after receiving money from
KMA and her own State Department.

(4) Corruption, conflict of interest, abuse of office, and embezzlement of public money between June – September 2022 where she (a) conspired with KMA’s Acting Director-General to unlawfully and without following due procedure licence Nancy Karigithu’s proxy (her son’s) seafarers recruitment agency, (b) she then directed KMA to spend over Ksh. 14,000,000 (Fourteen Million) of public money to finance her proxy company’s business operations, and (c) she locked out other licenced seafarer recruitment agencies from recruiting for Royal Caribbean Cruises by ring-fencing the work for her proxy company.

(5) In October 2022 she connived with officials in the Last Administration to set up a MARITIME ATTACHÉ office for herself in the Kenya High Commission in London and directed KMA to unlawfully spend unbudgeted Ksh. 47,394,000 (Forty-Seven Million Three Hundred Ninety-Four Thousand) on the established office.

(6) Maritime State Capture and economic sabotage where she led the Last Administration’s efforts to amend section 16 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 2009, to ease the takeover of KPA’s Second Container Terminal.

(7) Incompetent leadership that saw the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL), an agency under her charge, fail to deliver its mandate. KNSL operated with a skeleton staff and without a substantive CEO during her 7-year PS tenure (2016-2023).

(8) Incompetent leadership that saw Bandari Maritime Academy (BMA) fail, thoroughly, its training obligation and saw the Public Service Commission to BMAs among the bottom three (3) state corporations for three consecutive years (2022, 2021, and 2019). She also failed to ensure BMA was licensed to train seafarers leading BMA to conduct unlicensed seafarer training for 3 years now, from 6th January 2020 to date, with the high chances that Kenya might lose its Whitelist status given an upcoming IMO audit.

(9) Gross and blatant interference in Kenya Maritime Authority’s management and operations where (a) she frequently attended KMA’s operations meetings, (b) she gave instructions to KMA staff directly without passing through the Director General, (c) she attended all Board meetings including Board Committee meetings, (d) she harassed KMA’s Directors General leading to an extremely high turnover in that office which saw four DGs “come-and-go” during her 7-year PS tenure.

Indeed, in 2021 a former KMA DG sued Nancy Karigithu in the High Court at Mombasa citing all the above-stated, among other instances and examples of her gross interference.

The New Leadership has now found out that that Nancy Karigithu left behind immense rot especially at Her leadership was quite terrible that on Friday night, 4th November 2022 her staff at the State Department for Shipping and Maritime celebrated her exit with beer and mbuzi choma at a popular club in Upper Hill.

In his right of reply, Mr. Kiptanui says. “I know Nancy Karigithu like the back of my hand. I therefore welcome the lawful, formal, and public forum that the High Court will provide me to assert the many allegations of corruption, abuse of office, embezzlement of public funds, contravention of written law, conflict of interest, etc., and lay bare the irrefutable evidence against Nancy Wakarima Karigithu.”

He further says that he has written to EACC to protest the Commission’s gross breach of confidentiality through leakage to Nancy Karigithu the confidential information he disclosed. He says the leakage is a risk to his safety and security and doubt portends grave consequences on EACC’s credibility and impartiality, and public confidence.
Finally, Mr. Kiptanui says he looks forward to convincing the High Court that Nancy Karigithu is a corrupt vestige of the Last Administration and is highly likely a candidate for Lang’ata Women Prison and not IMO SG.

It is now clear that a cabal of outgoing senior officials of the Last Administration misrepresented the facts of Nancy Karigithu’s unsuitability for the IMO SG position; thus, the cabal lied and misled HE the President to hastily – long before the position was declared vacant – reaffirm on 3rd November 2022 Nancy Karigithu’s candidature for election as the IMO Secretary General.

Kenya has in the recent past nominated amazing women with stellar credentials – and of unimpeachable integrity – to vie for election to helm international governmental organisations, including as Amb. Monica Juma for The Commonwealth Secretary-General and Amb. Amina Mohammed for the World Trade Organization Director-General.

To the contrary, Nancy Karigithu’s IMO SG candidature hinges on the sympathy-begging but meaningless phrase “first woman and first African.”

The international community has now learnt of her tarnished integrity and incompetence, which she cleverly hid until December 2022 under choreographed media appearance and other razmataz.

Her ill-judged candidature has unravelled with IMO Member States questioning her integrity.

Given the current austerity measures, Government should not spend a shilling of the proposed Ksh. 300,000,000 (Three Hundred Million) on a candidate whose likelihood of winning the election for the IMO SG position is a snowball’s chance in hell.

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