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Jubilee MPs walk out on Henry Rotich over Anglo Leasing billions

By Standard Team | May 1st 2014
By Standard Team | May 1st 2014

By Standard Team

Nairobi, Kenya: Jubilee lawmakers staged a dramatic mass walkout on Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, thwarting attempts by the Executive to lobby them to back the controversial Sh1.4 billion Anglo Leasing payout.

The rare show of unity between the opposition and Government MPs forced the State to withdraw the report from the order paper.

CORD MPs had vowed to lobby their colleagues in the Jubilee alliance to shoot down a proposal by the joint House committee that allowed the Government to make payments to two Anglo Leasing companies.

Wednesday, the Jubilee MPs had been invited by the Executive for a luncheon to persuade them ahead of the afternoon motion walkout on Mr Rotich, who together with his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge and Solicitor General Njee Muturi were meeting them at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi.

Uhuru supporters

The tough-talking MPs who passionately opposed the payment included ardent supporters of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.

The angry MPs stormed out of the hotel, momentarily bringing business at the busy hotel to a standstill.

The tens of legislators came out chanting ‘can’t pay, won’t pay’ and vowed to oppose what they termed as an ‘attempt by the Executive to use them as a rubber stamp in promoting corruption’.

“If they (Executive) want to pay, let them do so but we shall meet them in Parliament,” threatened Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki adding: “But Parliament will not be used to legalise corruption.”

Rotich and Mr Thugge are likely to face the parliamentary censure motion, as CORD MPs demanded their resignation. Deputy Minority Whip Chris Wamalwa and Public Accounts Committee Chair Ababu Namwamba said they would sponsor a motion to remove the Treasury bosses from office for misleading Parliament.

Rotich had on Tuesday appeared before two joint committees (Budget and Finance) where he informed MPs that Kenya risked having its property abroad attached if the payment is not made.

“We want Rotich to do the honourable thing and resign together with his PS for misleading the country. We know the Geneva Convention protects our embassies abroad and his explanation was an attempt to hoodwink Parliament to approve illegal payments,” Wamalwa said.

Earlier in the day CORD co-principal Moses wetang’ula had chaired a CORD Parliamentary Group Meeting at County Hall, attended by some 80 MPs allied to the coalition, where they unanimously agreed to reject the report asking the House to approve the payments.

Faceless company

Mr Wetangula said the opposition was not willing to rubber-stamp payment to a shadowy, faceless and fictitious company by the name Anglo Leasing.

“We have agreed that it is important for all members of goodwill across the political divide to reject any attempt to defraud taxpayers by endorsing payment to Anglo Leasing suspects,” Wetang’ula said.

CORD faulted the Attorney General Githu Muigai for failing to defend the country against the court case, in which ruling the country was required to settle the payments.

For the first time, the Jubilee MPs said that their numerical strength commonly referred as ‘the tyranny of numbers’ was irrelevant in the issue.

Among the most vocal MPs who rubbished the payout included Nairobi Women Representative Rachel Shebesh, Runyenjes MP Cecil Mbarire and Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando.

-Report by Felix Olick, Wilfred Ayaga, Geoffrey Mosoku and James Mbaka

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