Probe MPs over bribery claims, agencies urged

Parliament in session. [File, Standard]
Pressure is mounting on the three investigating agenciesto turn the spotlight on the Legislature, following revelations that legislators were bribed to reject the sugar report.

Leaders, including the clergy, wondered why the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) had not taken overthe matter yet.

National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Secretary General Canon Peter Karanja called on the investigators to take over the case. 

“These are very grave allegations. It is a statement of depth of the rot in our society. However, where there is smoke there is fire. The investigating agencies should swing in, and vigorously probe the matter with a view of establishing the truth and bringing the people to book,” he told the Sunday Standard.

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“The energy we have seen the sleuths employ against Government officials, the private sector and Judiciary, should also be applied on Parliament.”

Karanja said the wave of change in the fight against corruption should be accepted in all departments, including Parliament.

Head of DCI George Kinoti and DPP Noordin Haji said they will act immediately they get a formal complaint from Parliament as EACC spokesman Yasin Amaro emphasised that the anti-graft body was ready and only waiting for an invite and a report from the Speaker to act.

“We have heard and read of the same in the media. Once we receive the report from the parliamentary leadership, we will act,” said Amaro.

The EACC Chief Executive Officer, Halakhe Waqo, is reported to have personally complained to Speaker Justin Muturi, accusing members of a committee of demanding kickbacks from him.

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Fictitious claims

In 2015, after the Standard’s exposé on fictitious allowance claims for committee sittings, plenary attendance, travels and mileage, Muturi wrote to the EACC to carry out investigations but they ended up doing a systems audit instead.

Yesterday, Muturi said that calling in the institutions with investigatory powers is the way to go. “It is the only logical thing to do now,” he said.

Former National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) chairman Francis ole Kaparo termed the accusations terrible.

“There is no law applicable to ordinary Kenyans and a different one applicable to the lawmakers. This is not a matter of the Powers and Privileges Committee because it borders on criminality,” Kaparo said.

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“How can a House of the people’s representatives and watchdog turn against them? Who will speak for the people when the legislators themselves are involved in this terrible act?” In record time, the MPs on Thursday not only trashed the report but saved Cabinet Secretaries (CSs) Henry Rotich (National Treasury) and Aden Mohammed (East African Community) and Kenya’s envoy to India Willy Bett from being held responsible for the sugar scam.

MPs Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South), Peter Kaluma (Homabay Township), Caleb Amisi (Saboti) and Hillary Kosgei (Kipkelion West) distanced themselves from the happenings and called on the Speaker to establish an ad hoc committee to look at the matter afresh.

“These are not MPs anymore, they are thugs. These MPs who were elected are just money hungry. They are rent seekers and don’t understand the role they are supposed to play,” Onyonka said.

He faulted Minority Leader John Mbadi whom he said spoke on the matter as if he was Majority Leader Adan Duale.

EACCDirectorate of Criminal InvestigationsDPPcorruption