MPs want top officials probed over Arturs

December 8, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – Members for Parliament have endorsed a report calling for the investigation of senior government officials over their alleged role in the entry and illegal operations of the controversial Armenian Artur brothers.

Legislators unanimously voted for the report that calls for a probe on the then Internal Security Minister John Michuki, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, Stanley Murage (then the Special Adviser to the President) and Joseph Kamau (then the CID Director) for contravention of the legal procedures and aiding their illegal presence in the country.

The report accuses the State officers of bypassing procedures in awarding citizenship, business licenses and offering protection to the brothers.

“The Artur brothers had indicated that they only had Sh8 million in their accounts. The revelations alone should have alerted the officers responsible for processing permits that they were not serious investors,” said Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara who initiated debate.

He regretted a well orchestrated cover up to stop the inquiry.

Artur Magaryan and his brother Artur Sargasyan dramatically came into the country driving top of the range vehicles and resided in the plush Runda estate. Their exit in 2006 was preceded by dramatic scene at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where they brandished guns and refused to be searched. They were arrested and later deported.

The report was jointly prepared by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee which was then chaired by MP Paul Muite and the National Security Committee chaired by Changamwe MP Ramadhan Kajembe. The report recommended that Mr Michuki who was the Internal Security minister be barred from holding public office.

The joint report also demands that PNU activist Mary Wambui and her daughter Winnie be investigated along with businessmen Raju Sanghani and Kamlesh Pattni.

“Which country imports thugs and makes them police officers and expects to be respected by its citizens?” posed government chief whip Jakoyo Midiwo.

MPs who contributed to the debate expressed dismay at the blatant disregard or rules and assistance given to the illegal immigrants.

Education Assistant Minister Ayiecho Olweny expressed concerns that the lapses and deliberate contravention of procedures exposed the country to people at the caliber of terrorists.
“It is unfortunate that the government allowed terrorists to operate within government,” said Prof Olweny.

“There is nowhere in this country where these people introduced any industry or a kiosk. These people in essence were criminals,” Lari MP David Njuguna in reference to the fact that the two got licenses for non-existence business enterprises.

The report states that the Armenian brothers were behind the infamous raid on the Standard newspapers, which the then Internal Security John Michuki was quoted as implying was planned by the State.

“The committee was able to get confirmation from (Mr) Michuki that the Standard Group raid was done under the supervision of police. This is what we call impunity,” said nominated MP Rachael Shebesh.

Gwasi MP John Mbadi was categorical: “We need to prosecute those officers that are responsible beginning with Mr Michuki, because he did not even deny the allegations on the Standard raid.”

“Mr Michuki must vacate office immediately,” he said.

Tempers flared in the House when MPs demanded that the then Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Martha Karua take responsibility for attempting to stop a parliamentary inquiry.

Ms Karua fought hard to protect her name and added that she was the one who initiated the process of arresting and deporting the brothers.

“When I got information on their violation of our law at the airport I immediately called the Commissioner of Police and wondered why there was violation of the law in the country. This resulted to the arrests in the wee hours of the morning.

I later consulted the then Minister of Immigration Gideon Konchella and after discussions on the illegal immigrants it resulted to deportations,” she said.

Ms Karua had written to Parliament urging it to halt the investigations to first allow the government investigations to be completed.

The current Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Mutula Kilonzo tried to block the adoption of the report claiming that it failed the test of the rules of natural justice since those mentioned in the report were not given an opportunity to defend themselves.

He however faced the wrath of the House with members calling for action of those adversely mentioned.

“This report is a comedy of errors. It appears that it was a witch-hunt where you were condemned even before you were heard,” he said.

Mr Kilonzo however later admitted the law was breached in the entry and handling of the Artur brothers in Kenya and said the action taken by Parliament represents the new Kenya where impunity will not be tolerated.


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