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Nyali MP Hezron Awiti accuses Speaker of taking sides

POLITICS
By Benard Sanga and Ishaq Jumbe | January 15th 2014

By Benard Sanga and Ishaq Jumbe

Nyali Member of Parliament Hezron Awiti has accused National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi of breaching parliamentary Standing Orders by publicly defending the controversial railway tender.

The MP said in Mombasa yesterday that it was against parliamentary rules for Muturi to take sides on the matter, which was currently under investigation by the House Committee on Transport.

Awiti insisted the matter was weighty and the Speaker should have remained neutral until the committee submitted its report. “I want to state that the speaker is going against the standing orders by answering matters on the railway tender from another MP outside Parliament,” said Awiti during a press conference in Mombasa.

He said he had also asked questions over the tender before Parliament went on recess but had not received answers from the Government, especially on the capacity of China Bridge and Road Corporation to undertake the project.

“The construction ought to be halted and the tendering process investigated. We want to know how much the project is going to cost the taxpayer,” said Awiti.

And in Nairobi, a section of MPs asked National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to retract a ruling he made regarding mandates of departmental committees of Parliament.

The ruling was made following a tussle between Public Investments Committee and the Transport, Public Works and Housing Committee, which were both angling to investigate the Sh220 billion Mombasa-Nairobi railway.  Yesterday, the MPs faulted the Speaker’s ruling and termed it curious. 

“Muturi jumped the gun to rule even before the Liaison committee retuned any verdict. He also went against the House Standing Orders by giving an upper hand to the Adan Keynan-led PIC yet its functions, according to the law, exclude examining matters of policy and day-to-day administration of any particular public investment,” one of them said.

Muturi had said PIC was expected to audit “the value for money” in State corporations as provided for in Standing Order 206. “Standing Order 206 allows the PIC to also examine...whether the affairs of the public investments, are being managed in accordance with sound financial or business principles,” Muturi ruled.

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