MPs committee clears Ngilu in graft probe

April 13, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 13 – The Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Natural Resources on Wednesday cleared Water Minister Charity Ngilu of allegations that she has misappropriated over Sh4 billion meant for the construction of several dams across the country.

In a report tabled by chairman Mutava Musyimi, the committee said that they could not link the minister to the allegations.

The committee instead questioned Public Works Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri’s motive who raised queries and alleged that most of the projects were riddled with corruption.

Mr Kiunjuri, a former Assistant Minister in the Ministry had also petitioned the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission to probe how Mrs Ngilu issued contracts for feasibility studies and preliminary designs for eight new dams and establish whether there was competitive bidding for the tenders.

Mr Kiunjuri singled out the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation as one of the parastatals procuring goods and services at inflated prices at 328 percent above market prices.  The KACC probe is still pending.

The Assistant Minister had accused unmanned members of the committee on Lands and Natural Resources of being bribed by suspects involved in Ministry of Water scandals.

Mr Kiunjuri claimed that a member of the committee had confided in him that some committee members had received kickbacks “to go slow” on the scandal in which the taxpayer lost more than Sh5 billion.

The assistant minister’s remarks brought the integrity of parliamentary committees into question, as constant claims of bribery have been persistent.  Mr Kiunjuri claimed he had the evidence to back his claims.

The parliamentary committee however recommended the sacking of Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation Chairman Godfrey Manguriu.

They also want that the government through the audit office to conduct an appraisal of the accounts with an aim of recovering all the money lost from individuals implicated.

The report will now be debated by the House which will then decide whether to adopt or reject it.

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission is currently probing several ministries including Mrs Ngilu\’s Water Ministry over graft allegations.

If found with a case to answer, the anti graft body will forward the files to Attorney General for prosecution.

KACC investigators have so far obtained registration records of four companies that won tenders to supply goods to the Water Ministry and which are allegedly linked to Mrs Ngilu\’s family members and friends.

The Kitui Central MP has appeared before the graft body on two occasions and maintains she is innocent and is the victim of a witch hunt.

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