Ministers unfairly targeted, says Murungi

October 29, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29 – Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi has now accused Parliament of unfairly vilifying ministers accused of alleged involvement in corruption without first establishing if they were culpable or not.

While he acknowledged that ministers were not above the law and were accountable to the National Assembly, he said it was unfair to indict them before thorough investigations were carried out.

“They have every right to call us and find out what is happening in the ministries. However, what we don’t like is that immediately a minister appears before a committee of Parliament, he is converted from being a minister to a thief,” he complained.

He argued that such accusations were not only destroying careers for many politicians but made such posts unattractive.

“This business of singing in the morning, in the evening, corruption, corruption, corruption; I think we are doing this country a lot of damage. We are asking… is it worth it being a minister today when you are always under this and that (allegation)?” he posed.

Mr Murungi who has been adversely mentioned in the Anglo Leasing and Triton scandals that involved the loss of billions of shillings told reporters on Friday that he did not mind been probed over any allegations, “as long as proper procedures are followed.”

“I have no problem if I’m treated strictly in accordance with the law. Let them look at my ministry, if it’s my officers who have stolen, let them be arrested and jailed. If it’s Kiraitu Murungi, let me also be arrested and jailed,” he asserted.

The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) on Friday said it was investigating four Cabinet Ministers and 45 senior government officials over corrupt dealings.

Mr Murungi has in the past been grilled over the Anglo Leasing saga which saw him relinquish his ministerial post for nine months. The perpetual investigations, he said, were unfair to him and amounted to witch hunting and thus needed to be stopped.

“I was investigated for Anglo Leasing and they found nothing and even the Attorney General published in the Kenya Gazette that I was not involved. But even after all that, Parliament is still talking about tainted ministers. For how long shall I carry this cross,” he wondered.

Mr Murungi said that of the “mob justice” approach against corruption was maintained, the country would not be able to effectively fight graft.

While lauding the new anti-corruption czar Dr Patrick Lumumba for going strongly after graft suspects, he said the Commission should be left to probe parliamentary reports on any irregularities after which charges can be preferred against those found to be culpable.

Only then, he argued, should the guilty parties be asked to step aside until they are cleared or convicted through the court system.

The minister’s remarks came two days after his Foreign Affairs colleague Moses Wetangula, his Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi were forced to vacate their offices to allow for investigations into the embassy procurement scam.


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