MPs clear Tobiko of integrity questions - Daily Nation

MPs clear Tobiko of integrity questions

Wednesday June 15 2011

From left, Dr Willy Mutunga, Nancy Barasa and Keriako Tobiko. Photos/FILE

From left, Dr Willy Mutunga, Nancy Barasa and Keriako Tobiko. Photos/FILE 

By ALPHONCE SHIUNDU ([email protected])

Parliament on Monday approved Dr Willy Mutunga as Kenya's Chief Justice.

Also was Nancy Baraza as Deputy Chief Justice and Mr Keriako Tobiko was cleared after acrimonious debate for position of director of public prosecution.

The three will now await appointment by President Kibaki to take office.

Earlier, Members of Parliament (MPs) cleared the way for Mr Tobiko's approval after they voted to disregard parts of a vetting report that questioned his integrity and competence.

MPs amended the report of the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee to delete a recommendation to have the nominee for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, approved without the grave allegations against him - for competence and integrity - being investigated.

Mr Mohammed Affey (nominated, ODM-K) engineered the amendment saying there was no reason why Mr Tobiko had to be investigated. The deletion of the amendment means that Mr Tobiko’s approval will not be subjected to any investigation.

He brought up the “minority” issue, saying that because Mr Tobiko came from the Maasai community, then, it was important that the nominee be accepted, the allegations against him notwithstanding.

Mr Affey, also the chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Equal Opportunity, said the list with three nominees was compliant with the Constitution because it had a woman (Nancy Baraza, the nominee for Deputy Chief Justice), and a representative from the minority in Mr Tobiko.

Welded

As soon as Mr Affey concluded, he had the firm support of Heritage Minister William ole Ntimama who told all the other MPs that they ought to support the list, because, “it was welded together” when it was presented to Parliament by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Mr Ntimama, a Maasai, said the MPs were against Mr Tobiko because of jealousy. He unsuccessfully tried to shut up Ms Martha Karua (Gichugu, Narc Kenya), who pointed out that it is not just a few MPs who were against Mr Tobiko, but the committee was split, 11-11, with one abstention.

Former Justice Minister Kiraitu Murungi, the current Energy Minister, said the dissent was “motivated by malice, jealousy and revenge.”

“If you look at all who came to give evidence, they all have an axe to grind. Those are not credible witnesses. It is discriminatory to say that because allegations were made, then Tobiko has to be investigated. If Tobiko has committed a crime, it is for the police to investigate,” said Mr Murungi.

He turned his blazing guns on Prof Yash Pal Ghai saying he was never a part of the reform movement because, he, Kiraitu, did not see him during the struggle.

Ms Karua was joined in her dissent to the amendment by Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo in calling for investigation and said that former permanent secretary Sammy Kirui was a credible witness because he was fit to be a PS and that he had raised valid points about the DPP nominee.

Mr Kilonzo, just like Ms Karua, said the allegations were grave and it will be a false move to approve Mr Tobiko as the country goes on with the implementation of a new Constitution.

Assistant Minister Lee Kinyanjui got personal and attacked Mr Kilonzo saying that his integrity in the past has been in question and that he had no basis to question the allegations against Mr Tobiko. Mr Isaac Ruto (Chepalungu, ODM) also attacked the Justice Minister saying he was “a lawyer during the reign of impunity and did not pay taxes”. Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim ruled Mr Ruto as being out of order.