The parliamentary Defence and Foreign Relations Committee is on the spot for delaying the release of its report on the controversial military procurement of jet-fighters, naval vessels and armoured vehicles.
Two senior military men who testified before the committee, and who have since retired – Maj-Gen Enock Sasia and Lieut-Col Barnabas Rono — have written to National Assembly Clerk Patrick Gichohi seeking to know the status of the parliamentary committee report.
The two, trough lawyer Moses Chelang’a, want to know why the truth behind the alleged link between the procurement of the military hardware and the retirement of senior officers in the military, was taking too long to come out.
“Our clients appeared before the committee in compliance with your order on the day and time appointed.
“As alluded to in your letter, our clients’ premature termination of commission with Kenya Defence Forces is correlated to the procurements under the committees’ investigation.
“With this interest, our clients legitimately expected the committee’s report and findings within reasonable time,” reads the letter, also copied to House Speaker Kenneth Marende.
The House committee had on March 3, last year, summoned the senior military officers to shed light on the “premature retirement of senior military officers and its correlation with the procurement of the 42 AMR Parhard light armoured cars from MIS Sayamar (an Israeli company), APC from a South African company, KN Nyayo and KN Umoja war ships from Financantieri of La Special based in Italy and F5 aircraft from the Government of Jordan”.
They appeared before the committee and shed light on the deal. “It is now more than 15 months down the lane and to our client’s knowledge the anxiously-anticipated report has not been furnished to them, tabled in Parliament or at least made public in pursuant to the committee’s public duty,” reads the letter dated June 25, 2012.
When contacted, the chairman of the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee, Mr Adan Keynan, said the investigation was “very complex” but the report was “100 per cent complete” and would be tabled in the House as soon as it reconvenes later this month.
“The investigation involved so many countries: Israel, South Africa, Italy and Jordan. We still have problems with Jordan, because they have denied us access. But that aside, the report is complete,” Mr Keynan told the Nation on Monday.
“God willing, we will table it as soon as the House reconvenes,” the committee chairman said. It is not clear if the committee has delayed the report because of the on-going military offensive in Somalia that began in October last year.
When the query was raised in Parliament shortly before the committee commenced its inquest, Defence minister Yusuf Haji confirmed that five officers, including the two who want to know the status of the report, “voluntarily opted to resign for reasons that are confidential between them and the Defence Council”.
The minister maintained that the government got value for money in the procurement and that there was nothing sinister with the deal. MPs had alleged massive rot in the procurement procedures of military hardware and intimidation of officers who questioned the deal.