Sugar scandal: MPs summoned over bribe claims - Daily Nation

House now summons 15 MPs for grilling over bribery claims

Saturday September 15 2018

sugar report.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi addresses journalists during the Parliamentary and Editors Retreat at Serena Beach Resort and Spa in Mombasa on September 14, 2018. He has said action will be taken against MPs who took bribes to dismiss a sugar report. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SAMWEL OWINO
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The embarrassing allegations of members of Parliament being bribed with as little as Sh10,000 to shoot-down a report on the sugar scandal will return to Parliament on Tuesday, with 15 legislators expected to spill the beans on the matter.

The parliamentary Powers and Privileges Committee chaired by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has invited the 15 to appear before it and shed light on the bribery claims that rocked the debate on the report of the joint committee which investigated the sugar scandal.

On Friday, Mr Muturi told a workshop in Mombasa that the committee will hold meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday to listen to presentations by the MPs thought to have information about the claims.

“You are invited on Tuesday and Wednesday to listen to allegations on whether or not MPs were bribed. If you say you saw and you are an MP, you have an obligation to say what you saw,” Mr Muturi said, adding that the sessions will be held in the open.

EVIDENCE NEEDED

Among the MPs listed to appear before the committee are Ayub Savula (Lugari), James Onyango K’Oyoo (Muhoroni), Fatuma Gedi (Wajir Women Representative), Didmas Barasa (Kimilili), Jayne Kihara (Naivasha) and others.

During the two-day session, the MPs will be expected to substantiate their claims that their colleagues were bribed to shoot-down the report of the two committees — Agriculture and Trade — which jointly investigated the sugar scandal and tabled a report in the House.

The MPs will be further expected to present evidence on those who gave or received money and a report will be handed to police for appropriate action.

A source in the committee said MPs who were quoted in the media accusing their colleagues of dishing out or receiving bribes will be required to substantiate their claims.

These may include Mr Barasa, Matungu MP Justus Murunga, Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati and Kiambu Woman Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba, who sensationally claimed that some of her colleagues received bribes in the toilets.

RESTORING DIGNITY

Mr Barasa is on record insisting that Ms Gedi was among those who dished out Sh10,000. Ms Gedi has however denied the claims and threatened legal action against Mr Barasa.

Mr Savula on Wednesday confirmed during a press conference at Parliament Buildings that he will appear before the committee on Tuesday to give evidence.

“I will appear before the committee on Tuesday because we must restore the dignity of parliament,” he said.

Mr K’Oyoo also confirmed receiving the invitation to appear before the committee, saying: "I was invited by virtue of being a member of the Powers and Privileges Committee. But during the debate I was aggrieved that justice was not accorded to the sugarcane farmer. So they have invited me to air my grievances so I will appear before it on Tuesday.”

HOUSE PROCEDURE

When the bribery claims surfaced, Mr Muturi invited the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate the matter.

“My office and the House leadership in general takes the bribery allegations within the precincts of Parliament seriously and this must be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken in line with the relevant laws,” he said.

According to the law, the Powers and Privileges Committee is mandated to deal with such matters before escalating them to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The report had indicted National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, his East African Community counterpart Adan Mohammed and High Commissioner to India Willy Bett - who was Agriculture Cabinet Secretary when the sugar was imported.