An MP risks losing her parliamentary seat, being jailed or both, if found guilty to have abused her position to irregularly obtain confidential parliamentary documents to fix her four colleagues in a controversial video linked to her.
Wajir County Woman Representative Fatuma Gedi had a rough time before the Powers and Privileges Committee of the National Assembly over misuse of official information as a state officer to advance her interests.
In her complaint to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the MP has implicated MPs Adan Keynan (Eldas), Abdihakim Osman (Fafi), Purity Wangui (Kirinyaga County Woman Representative) and her Isiolo colleague Rehema Jaldesa for allgedly defaming her by circulating the video that she termed fake, which depicted her in a sexual mood.
However, the matter turned against Ms Gedi after a parliamentary staff, Mr Hassan Noor, revealed to the committee that Ms Gedi coerced him into providing the confidential documents with members wondering what her real interest was.
The documents include a letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Michael Sialai, purportedly summoning the four MPs to the DCI to record statements in relation to the matter.
Ms Gedi, the vice chairperson of the House committee on Delegated Legislation, is also accused to have illegally gotten an internal memo from Mr Sialai seeking an advisory opinion from the House’s legal department on the DCI’s letter.
The Privileges Committee is substantively chaired by House Speaker Justin Muturi.
Limuru MP Peter Mwathi, who chaired the committee session on Wednesday, said Ms Gedi faces the accusations of misuse of official information, which is not available in the public domain, as a state officer to further her private interest.
“Parliamentary investigations were undertaken and identified the member of staff, who said that the information was asked by Ms Gedi,” Mr Mwathi said in the presence of the four MPs who appeared before the committee to interrogate Ms Gedi.
She was also unable to explain why she failed to notify the House Speaker first before reporting the matter to the DCI even as it emerged that she has political differences with the four MPs.
The accusations against Ms Gedi constitute offence under the Powers and Privileges Act, Leadership and Integrity Act and the Government Secrets Act.
Section 22 (1) of the Leadership and Integrity Act provides that a state officer shall not directly or indirectly use or allow any person under the officer’s authority to use any information obtained through or in connection with the office, which is not available in the public domain, for the furthering of any private interest, whether financial or otherwise.
A person who contravenes this provision shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh500, 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both.
Ms Gedi told the committee that she was in the company of two other MPs when Mr Noor brought the documents but later changed her narrative, saying the documents were given to her driver.
Although she repeatedly told the committee that the DCI is investigating the matter, it has since emerged that Mr George Kinoti never summoned the four MPs to record statements over the sex video.
Mr Kinoti said the orders were premature and uncalled for and that there was no evidence so far to link the four MPs to the claims, therefore, no need for them to show up.
It is not the first time that the Wajir County MP is having a date with the committee.
Towards the end of last year, she appeared before the team over allegations of bribing MPs to reject the parliamentary report on the illegal importation of poisonous sugar.