Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki does not shy away from a little controversy and sometimes not so little.
At Afya House, staffers are said to run for safety at the sound of sirens from her motorcade. The CS who has risen through the ranks has a number of assistants as well as a handbag carrier.
Once she took over from Cleopa Mailu the former PS for Agriculture had at least three-quarters of the seventh floor redone to fit her taste. It is now, Kahawa Tungu understands, fitted with a kitchen and a changing room.
According to a weekly publication, she displaced the chief dental specialist, chief finance officer, undersecretary for medical equipment, senior deputy secretary and head of mental health.
But during the Cabinet members swearing in ceremony in February 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta noted that this was not a platform for self-actualization and pandering to ego but a “rare calling and a precious honour bestowed on so very few”.
Well, Ms Kariuki can best be described as the proverbial cat with nine lives.
From her stint at the Tea Board of Kenya where she was the managing director, corruption seems to follow her around.
She was plucked out of the Tea Board and onto the Ministry of Agriculture as the Principal Secretary who is also the ministry’s accounting officer.
She was still sitting in the board of Commercial Bank of Africa, owned by the Kenyatta family. It was not until the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) threatened to send a warning letter that she let go of her position.
While serving as the Agriculture PS, a parliamentary committee sought to find out how billions of shillings were spent during the 2014-15 financial year.
It is during her tenure at the Ministry of Agriculture that Sh2.1 billion was transferred to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) as subsidy for purchase of fertilizers which would later be sold to the farmers.
The ministry could not however determine the cost at which the subsidized fertilizers were bought at or how much the farmers paid for them.
It is then that the parliamentary committee sought the DCI and EACC’s intervention.
Ms Kariuki who most legislators who have run into her describe as arrogant, disrespectful and has no regard for rules and procedures would later be moved to the Youth Affairs ministry as CS.
It is during her time at the Ministry alongside then PS Lilian Amollo that the second National Youth Service (NYS) saga was plotted and executed.
The Sh468 million theft saw Amollo and then NYS director general Richard Ndubai sacked and facing criminal charges.
No action was taken against Kariuki and as fate would have it, she was moved to the Health docket.
It is while working here that lawmakers sought to impeach her over how she handled the Kenyatta National Hospital matter whereby doctors performed brain surgery on the wrong patient. She dismissed then KNH CEO Lilly Koros.
At least 160 MPs were in support of the impeachment motion which was shut down by the president and his deputy, William Ruto.