MPs ask Uhuru to intervene in sugar probe - Daily Nation
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Mixed reactions from MPs over rejected sugar probe report

Friday August 10 2018

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali speaks at Serena Beach Resort on August 10, 2018. He is among three legislators who have differed over the shooting down of the sugar report that was tabled in the National Assembly on Thursday. Photo | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KAZUNGU SAMUEL
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MPs have differed over the shooting down of the sugar report that was tabled in the National Assembly on Thursday and which was rejected.

MPs Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) and Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), openly differed over the move, with Mr Washiali calling for a direct intervention from President Uhuru Kenyatta to address the burning issues in the sugar sector in the country.

The three legislators spoke on Friday on the side-lines of an ongoing joint retreat for the Procedure and House Rules Committee, the House Business Committee and the Liaison Committee at Serena Beach Hotel in Mombasa.

Mr Mohamed, who is also the National Assembly Minority Whip, called for the investigating agencies to take over the matter following the “shoddy report” that was tabled by the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Kanini Kega.

CONTRABAND SUGAR

The Kieni MP chaired the joint parliamentary committee that investigated the presence of contraband sugar in the country.

"Because the report did not address the issues that Kenyans wanted to know, it is now the turn of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and other investigating agencies to launch new investigations.

“I believe we have good investigating teams including experts from the Kenya Bureau of Standard that can take the matter to another level,” Mr Mohamed said.

He said the importation of bad sugar is criminal and the matter can now best rest with the agencies.

“Any criminal matter is best handled by criminal investigating agencies, so let them take over and I know that we have some of the best agencies that are up to the task,” he said.

He added that there is no need of tasking another parliamentary committee to do the work and that there is no need for Parliament to continue using taxpayers’ money on the same issue.

HEALTH COMMITTEE

Earlier, speaking on the same issue, Mr Keter suggested that Parliament should now task the National Assembly committee on Health to take over the sugar investigations following the rejection of the report done by the Kieni MP-led committee.

“Because sugar touches on the lives of Kenyans, the best committee now to handle it is the Health committee,” he said.

He said that the report was doomed to fail because both the chairman and committee members failed to address the questions that Kenyans and Parliament in general wanted answered.

“If it was about the health and safety of Kenyans. Why did the members conclude by calling for investigations of Cabinet secretaries instead of telling Kenyans the status of the sugar that is consumed in the country,” asked Mr Keter.

Mr Washiali, who was a friend of the committee, said Parliament missed an opportunity by shooting down the report which he said addressed the key problems facing the sugar sector.

"We are calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and revive the sugar sector. On Monday, as MPs from the sugar-growing region, we shall meet and elaborate on this issue," he said during the press conference.