Speaker Muturi now orders probe into bribery claims in Parliament


National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi. PHOTO/File
National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi. PHOTO/File

In Summary

  • Speaker Muturi wants the MPs who have readily admitted that money changed hands for the demise of the report to record official statements.
  • According to the speaker, the Powers and Privileges Committee will review the information to ascertain the possibilities of breach of privilege by the way of unethical conduct on the part of specific Members of the National Assembly.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has invited the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate allegations that MPs were bribed to shoot down the contraband sugar probe report last Thursday.

Parliament has come under fire after claims emerged that some MPs received kickbacks of between Ksh.10,000 and Ksh.30,000 — depending on one’s political clout — to reject the sugar report prepared by the joint committees of Trade and Industry as well as that of Agriculture.

Speaker Muturi wants the MPs who have readily admitted that money changed hands for the demise of the report to record official statements.

“I have instructed the Clerk of the National Assembly to immediately write to the members who have been quoted in sections of the media citing incidences of bribery within the precincts of parliament; inviting them to share their testimonies or any information that they may have with the Powers and Privileges Committee,” said Muturi.

According to the speaker, the Powers and Privileges Committee will review the information to ascertain the possibilities of breach of privilege by the way of unethical conduct on the part of specific Members of the National Assembly.

“The Powers and Privileges Committee will upon evaluation of the testimonies may consider inviting the competent investigatory agencies, in particular the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) as provided for in the Leadership and Integrity Act to conclusively handle the investigations with the view to taking necessary action against any member found culpable of this grossly unethical conduct,” he said.

A heated debate and emotional talk back characterised proceedings of the National Assembly on Thursday, August 9 as MPs debated and finally threw out the entire contraband sugar probe report.

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga and those in her support tried passionately to have amendments included to have Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich and Adan Mohamed investigated and prosecuted over controversial sugar imports, but they did not succeed.

It would later emerge that hours before the report was tabled for debate, some MPs were allegedly bribed to reject it.

“I am saying there was that circulation of money, you can see and sense what was going on,” said MP Kimani Ngunjiri.

“You wonder how someone who doesn’t even know how cane looks like is making decisions for sugar farmers, someone who has never planted cabbage at the back of his house is now deciding on sugar cane farming,” added Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali.

Addressing the same issue on Saturday, Siaya Senator James Orengo called for the suspension of activities of the parliamentary committees until the bribery claims are fully probed.

“I would urge that in the next week or so, we suspend all meetings of audit committees in parliament until this matter is inquired into because if the reports of these committees are not being taken seriously by the public, then parliament’s work will be in vain,” said Orengo.

While rejection of the report appears to have let the implicated government officials off the hook, investigative agencies can still establish if there was any wrong doing on their part.

 

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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