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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Speaker Muturi, Duale names feature in MPs’ graft deals

The highest office in parliament has finally admitted that corruption has become endemic in the National Assembly to the extent that even reports brought to the house earlier are of doubtful value in nature. Even as House Speaker Justin Muturi wielded the stick and suspended the Public Accounts Committee over graft allegations, attention will be trained on what he will do with other committees where bribe-taking is the order of the day.
 For example, the report by the Administration and National security Committee chaired by Tiaty MP Asman Kamama on Wastegate terror attack caused uproar in the house with accusations that it had been deliberately distorted to be rejected by parliament. The Kamama reports introduced a new angle to MPs malfeasance where they collude to disown their own reports leading to rejection and therefore saving culprits from the law.
The suspension of PAC raises eyebrows as to whether events were precipitated to scuttle investigations of the mighty that PAC was undertaking. It is not a coincident that PAC had its sights on corruption in Hustler Jet saga under Deputy President William Ruto, looting at the ministry of Interior, graft in the Judiciary under former registrar Gladys Sholei and acquisition of election kits by IEBC. These mega scandals rope in officials aligned to both Cord and Jubilee. The wave of corruption in the National Assembly is as endemic as it is direct, open and persistent. Speaker Justin Muturi is a man in a dilemma as he attempts to hold onto the high moral ground on the widespread scandal over solicitations for kickbacks and bribes to doctor committee reports that let thieves steal public funds at will and go free. This has prompted the speaker to wonder loudly last Tuesday that “is this 11 parliament jinxed?”
While the speaker is grappling with what to do to restore house dignity, there is no let up in MPs accusing each other over who has taken what amounts of bribes. The issue now turns out to be not whether bribery exists but how much each MP gets. That is why accusations are flying all over, some emanating from those on whose behalf bribes were taken but never got a share. House rules allow for 60 days for committees to table reports but reports are routinely delayed to allow for members to solicit bribes. The tell-it-all scenes have put the integrity of parliament’s oversight role under great suspicion and stress.
The name of the speaker, leader of majority in parliament Adan Duale also feature prominently in a cartel in parliament who target parastatal bosses and cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries. During the probe for the controversy surrounding the Standard Gauge Railway line, Muturi and Duale were said to have favoured the Public Investment Committee headed by Adan Keynan against Maina Kamanda led transport committee. In parliament, Muturi and Duale work with a section in PIC to mint millions, it is claimed. The two can block a report to be discussed if it involves a friendly individual. Sources say in the coming days after the PAC report on Namwanba team is tabled, PICwill be the next on line.
As the integrity of the house sinks to an all-time low, whistle blowers are having a field day secretly filing evidence with Muturi. Even as the Public Accounts Committee grapples with either impeaching its chairman Ababu Namwamba again or disbanding itself, it has emerged that almost all committees of the National Assembly have perfected the art of cash for expunging guilt and names from reports. At the PAC meeting where Ababu escaped impeachment by a whisker, members openly and acrimoniously exchanged notes on who had received what in graft money to doctor reports on the Judiciary Sholei corruption allegations, Ruto’s Hustler Jet saga and the OP’s missing millions. At the meeting that Ababu survived, it is said his deputy Cecily Mbarire openly wept as she said the graft claims  had badly tainted her image moreso asher Luhya husband also faced criminal  charges with Charity Ngilu’s son-in-law Billy Indeche. They were eventually acquitted on defrauding ministry of Water millions of shillings.
At one time during the meeting, tempers flared as members blamed one of them of being behind the media leakages. It emerged the Sunna East MP Mohammed Junnet was the man.
Junnet is said to have been making money by targeting interested parties in PAC reports who were concerned the truth and doctoring reports to protect individuals was on. Junnet is currently in financial doldrums. He is in trouble with an aviation firm based at Wilson airport after he failed to pay an invoice of Sh5 million for choppers he hired for Raila Odinga.
The family investment in transport has collapsed. In the energy sector where he used to broker deals using a former deputy provincial commissioner and one-time chairman of Mau secretariat during the coalition government Noor Mohammed, things are dry. He is said to be using his perceived closeness to Raila to make opportunities by endearing himself with Jubilee luminaries.
It was alleged that Namwamba received cash from all these sources but failed to sanitise the reports hence the backhand complement that saw URP members charged with his removal. Others alleged that he indeed tried to sanitise the reports without sharing the loot hence the backlash. Namwamba had his own recorded dossier that intimated members. Besides, Senator Bonny Khalwale threw in the spanner intimating that Ababu took money. At a weekend funeral, Khalwale likened Namwamba to the biblical thief Barabbas when he claimed that he saved Namwamba by suggestively remarking that “I cannot be bought. But if you want someone to buy, look for Namwamba”. However, there are claims that the culprit offices paid millions through a female member of the committee to remove Namwamba. It is this stalemate that has been created deliberately leading to the recourse to reconstitute committees to scuttle and kill the adverse reports.
We have information, it is true senators Moses Wetangula, James Orengo and Khalwale played a role in begging a number on the PAC committee to spare Namwamba. To survive Namwamba had  recorded voices including that of Raila and one Athuro. What has complicated matters for Bundalangi MP is that, MPs are questioning his massive construction project in Karen. Initial reports say members were of the view Namwamba was to resign  immediately he survived but were surprised by his plea to be given two more months to finish his duties. Was Namwamba out to write favourable reports and make other deals within two months he was requesting?
Our investigations show that reluctance by the National Assemby leadership that met in Mombasa to take a firm stand against corruption is because each side of the political divide holds evidence of graft against the other leading to a stalemate on who would bell the cat. When Muturi confidently says that it is the responsibly of political parties “to ask themselves if the members they have put in these critical committees fit being there”, information is leaking that he is being economical with truth by shifting goal posts to political parties and thus protecting some members.
More names are now emerging attached to previously unknown beneficiaries of graft that has tainted MPs. On the spot for alleged graft is the Energy, Communication and Information committee chaired by Kigumo TNA MP Jamleck Kamau and the Transport, Public Works and Housing committee. A section in the two committees are alleged to have walked out of motor company showrooms with brand new SUVs courtesy of managers at the Geothermal Development Company currently under investigation, and SGR which was spectacularly approved despite allegations of graft respectively. It will be embarrassing for the former councillor with a stuttering semblance of the English language like CS Kazungu Kambi who passes himself as the paragon of virtue to be caught with his pants down in graft.  For Jamleck, it will utterly suicidal given he is a  confidant of Uhuru Kenyatta who has charged the MP with nursing the new Jap outfit for 2017.
Sources allege that Muturi is possession of a bank slip of Sh4 million procured from by the chairman of Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives, Mandera North MP Mohamed Noor of URP in order to sanitise the committee’s report. This is the reason Muturi readily admits that committees have been compromised and is asking for their make-up to avoid having to take direct responsibility of exposing a Jubilee partner MP.
PAC and PIC    the two most powerful committees in parliament that must be headed by the opposition to countercheck the government operations.