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MPs support opening of Charterhouse Bank, tell off US ambassador

BUSIA
By | Dec 10th 2010 | 2 min read

MPs castigated US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger as they adopted a report by the Finance Committee recommending reopening of Charterhouse Bank.

The report, which was unanimously supported by Members saw the Government also come under attack since there was not a single minister in the House to respond to the Motion.

Neither Deputy Prime minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta nor the Assistant Minister Oburu Odinga were in the House as per the Standing Orders, a move that did not go down well with MPs.

Nambale MP Chris Okemo and the Committee chairman said absence of Mr Uhuru and members of the front bench was a scheme by the State to avoid dealing with the issue.

"Mr speaker this is the same frustrations members of this Committee have faced through out this investigations," he added.

Government Chief Whip Johnstone Muthama who also supported the motion had a hectic time defending the absence of the ministers.

Mr Muthama said he had attempted to get in touch with Uhuru to come for the Motion but was unable to reach him on phone.

He said he was shocked by the report because there was an accused without the accuser.

"Mr speaker no single person has raised a complaint against the bank and I am a businessman and when there is an issue of tax evasion you follow the person and not an institution," he added.

Muthama questioned whether the bank had been closed on instructions from Ranneberger and thus wondered whether foreigners were running the country. He said if there are allegations of drug trafficking, the responsibility lay with the police to arrest those concerned.

All State agencies

Moving the motion, Okemo noted that all Government agencies had absolved the bank of any wrongdoing and wondered what the bank had done wrong. "Today Mr Speaker we are hearing about allegations of drug trafficking, do we then close all banks," he wondered.

Okemo said the Central Bank Governor should ensure he executes the restructuring agreement they had signed with the directors of Charterhouse Bank.

Seconding the Motion, Kisumu Town East MP Shakeel Shabir said the allegations that had been used to close the bank were similar to those other banks had faced and wondered why CHB had been singled out for closure.

Yatta MP Charles kilonzo said the Attorney General Amos Wako, through Deputy Solicitor General Muthoni Kimani, had warned the CBK against the closure of the bank.

Kilonzo said Riggs Bank in the United States had been dealing in money laundering and even money used for the 9/11/ went through the same bank, which was investigated by Congress but was never closed and wondered why Ranneberger was advocating for CHB to be closed yet in the US that was not the tradition.

Government Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo wondered what evidence the envoy had, yet they found nothing new in his allegations.

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