By Boniface Gikandi
Murang’a, Kenya: The commission of inquiry probing the troubled Murang’a Investment Co-operative (MIC) is unconstitutional, a lawyer has said.
Lawyer Ngaruiya Waithaka, who is a member of the Murang’a Investment Co-operative Society, argued before the session that local Assembly Speaker Nduati Kariuki lacked constitutional mandate to form the commission of inquiry.
Waithaka said only Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria has the prerogative to deal with the county matters just as President Kenyatta is mandated to form a national commission.
After a heated debate, the lawyer who was accompanied MIC officials Antony Mwangi and James Mwangi, said the commission should not have been allowed to take views from the public.
“Nationally only the President is mandated to form commissions of inquiry and not any other office,” said the lawyer.
Probe chairman David Ngugi was shocked with the lawyer’s opening remarks, forcing him to adjourn the session to pave way for consultation.
Ngugi said the speaker had the mandate within his opinion to form a commission of inquiry to carry out fact-finding mission.
“Since these are sideshows, we shall be forced to come out with a common stand. The stand could force us to make a report without your contributions as we are coming to an end of the information gathering,” Ngugi told the lawyer.
Upon sensing threats of being ejected from the meeting to pave away for the commissioners to have a private session, the co-operative chairman Antony Mwangi pleaded with Ngugi to ignore the “sideshows” and proceed with deliberations.
Mwangi, in his remarks, defended the co-operative society saying it meant well for Murang’a people by pooling resources as a vehicle to champion development.
Several officials, among them leaders from Capital Market Authority (CMA), Saving Societies Regulating Authority (SSAR), lawmakers, and three county secretaries, have already appeared before the commission.
The officials were hard-pressed to explain why they disregarded technical advice from CMA and SSAR by failing to reply to request for more information.
Mwangi said several committees at the co-operative have been formed to safeguard interests of Murang’a people and enhance transparency and accountability.
“This is not the first investment co-operative in Kenya. We have Safaricom and Stima Investment Co-operative which are the largest in Kenya and both investing in the real estate venture at billions of shillings,” said investment chairman.
The chairman was pressed further to name a co-operative officer who presided over the AGM which was held at Sagret Hotel in Nairobi.
Earlier, after he appeared before the commission, Senate Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura declined to comment on legality of commission of inquiry probing the co-operative.