MPs demand cost of ICC diplomacy

February 2, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs alone spent close to Sh4 million in the last two weeks as part of shuttle diplomacy to push for a deferral of the International Criminal Court\’s case against six Kenyan suspects.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Richard Onyonka however told Parliament on Wednesday that he was not in a position to state the total amount spent on the trips since he did not have expenses incurred by the Vice President\’s office.

He told parliament that officers from the Foreign Affairs Ministry spent Sh3,659,728 on the trips.

"This is what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has spent on the officers who travelled with the Vice President," he said.

He confirmed that the VP travelled in delegations of about 10 people comprising officers from different ministries and MPs.

"We will be able to liaise with the accounting officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs and get the figures," he added.

Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale who had asked the question protested at the partial revelation of the total cost prompting the Speaker to ask the Minister to come back with the full expenses next week.

"The taxpayer would like to know who was paying for the costs of all these officers," Mr Khalwale said.

He asked the Minister to table in the House the costs incurred by the Office of the Vice President, Office of the President and Parliament.

"We would like to know under what circumstances the parliamentary budget was used to pay for a trip which is suspect," he said.

The VP visited Nigeria, Libya, Malawi, Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda to lobby support for a Motion that was tabled before the AU summit in Addis Ababa this weekend for African states to back a request for the United Nations Security Council to press for a deferral.

Cabinet Ministers Chirau Ali Mwakwere and Njeru Githae have also been on similar missions in other countries in the region.

The coalition government has been divided over the trips with Prime Minister and his ODM party disowning it. Mr Musyoka has however insisted that he was a special envoy of President Mwai Kibaki.

The AU and Inter Governmental Authority on Development gave backing to the proposal last weekend, which is now expected to be escalated to the UN Security Council level.

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