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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 9 March 2015

MPS TO QUIZ RAILA OVER ABABU TAPE



PARLIAMENT's Powers and Privileges Committee plans to summon Cord leader Raila Odinga to shed light on alleged corruption allegations facing Public Accounts Committee chairman Ababu Namwamba.
Multiple sources said that the committee was preparing to send summonses to Raila after it emerged that Ababu had secretly taped a private conversation with his ODM party leader in which an MP admitted receiving cash to influence a PAC report.
"We have asked Speaker Justin Muturi and the Clerk of the National Assembly to approve the summoning of Raila because we believe he will be useful to our committee," said a PAC member yesterday.
Raila and fellow Cord principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula met Ababu yesterday to discuss the issue.
It is understood that Ababu apologised for surreptitiously taping Raila, insisting that the intention was not to embarrass the opposition leader but to expose MPs who were accusing him yet they themselves had been bribed.
Namwamba and three members of the PAC will be the first witnesses to be grilled by the Powers and Privileges Committee over allegations of corruption in Parliament’s most powerful watchdog.
?The Powers and Privileges Committee, which held its first meeting on the issue yesterday, said MPs will appear before them tomorrow to give evidence on what they know about the corruption allegations.
?The chairperson of the committee, Moses Cheboi (Kuresoi North), however said it was to meet later yesterday to agree on the rest of MPs to appear before them as well as finalise timelines.
?It was understood that the three MPs who will appear alongside Namwamba are the members who have traded accusations against each other over who is to blame.
?Cheboi also disclosed that the committee had agreed that Mohammed Elmi (Tarbaji), Joseph Lekuton (Laisamis) and Ali Wario (Bura) be the three members to join the 10-member committee in the probe.
?According to Cheboi, the three legislators are the most neutral members as they have not taken a position on the matter and have served more than one term.
? ?He also disclosed that the committee will be sending out an advertisement asking members of the public who are conversant with the matter to send their petitions to them.
A source at Capital Hill, the former Prime Minister’s private office, said that Raila appeared upset with the turn of events and asked party members to exercise restraint to avoid Jubilee capitalising on their differences to make political capital.
"Jakom came in not happy at all. He appeared disappointed but sat calmly as he listened to members. But he was categorical that the issue was weighty and required sobriety."
The source described the meeting as stormy, with accusations and counter-accusations rending the air.
"Yes, there were some heated exchanges, but tempers cooled down after Jakom intervened and told members to be sober and respect one another's opinion."
Ababu is said to have stuck to his guns that he had not received any bribe and challenged members with evidence to table it, our source added, saying the Budalang’i MP insisted on clearing his name above all else.
A faction of ODM leaders have called for Ababu's sacking as secretary general of the party, citing a betrayal of trust.
"If indeed its true that Namwamba taped Raila without consent, then that smacks of betrayal of trust and a sign of bad faith whatever reason there could be," said ODM Treasurer Timothy Bosire.