, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has cleared Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula from any wrong doing over the Tokyo embassy scandal saying he has been exonerated by five separate probes.
The PM, who was responding to questions by Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale on Wednesday afternoon over the controversial re-appointment, said the minister had been cleared by a team from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the now defunct Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC), a parliamentary committee, the Auditor General and another team from the Treasury.
He also denied allegations that he pushed for the re-appointment in order to return a personal favour as had been claimed by Khalwale.
Odinga maintained that he had no authority over any ministers on the PNU side, saying the re-appointment was the President’s decision. He also argued that it was unfair to keep the probe into Wetangula’s conduct dragging.
“It has been 19 months since the KACC started investigating Wetangula.
It has been 10 months since Wetangula stepped aside but investigations cannot go on indefinitely. Regulations require that if an officer is suspended investigations must be concluded as quickly as possible,” he said.
However Khalwale would not buy the explanation saying that the argument did not hold any water.
He then sought to know why the government had not re-appointed Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Kilome’s Harun Mwau even though they had equally been cleared by the courts.
Mosop MP David Koech also sought to know why former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey had not been reinstated.
“The PM has advanced very compelling reasons for the decisions the Cabinet took but he has not given us anything to negate the resolutions of this House and has given us nothing to convince us that they worked in line with Chapter 6 of Constitution,” he said.
“Why didn’t the Cabinet reinstate Ruto and Mwau if it is not a question of double standards?” he posed.
The PM however claimed that Ruto asked to step down from the Cabinet’s position as he was busy campaigning for another party.
Odinga explained that Ruto could not be reappointed into the Cabinet as he decided to form a political party that was not part of those that formed the Coalition government.
On Kosgey, Odinga said that there was still a pending court case that had to be determined before he could be reappointed. However, no response was given on Mwau’s suspension.
“You know how individuals are appointed to the Cabinet. Ruto asked to step aside to form his own party which is not part of the coalition party,” said Raila.
Khalwale also mentioned several individuals, serving in various ambassadorial posts, who are allegedly related to the PM saying Wetangula made the appointments and that Odinga decided to return the favour by reappointing him.
The PM however denied the allegations.
“I did not know that if you are a Prime Minister then your relatives cannot work as public officers. I didn’t know that the current Constitution forbids a daughter of a President, for example, from holding public offices; if that is the case, then this is a crime,” he countered.
Tempers were almost lost during the heated debate prompting Speaker Kenneth Marende to intervene.
The PM was also challenged to table the reports clearing Wetangula from the allegations.
The morning session in Parliament was also marked by a similar debate as MPs engaged each other in a discussion over the establishment of a separate committee to investigate the reasons behind the weakening shilling.
The House was divided as MPs sought to make their positions for or against the formation of the committee known.
The motion for the new committee was brought to the House by Wajir West Adan Keynan and seconded by Rangwe’s Martin Ogindo who argued that there was urgent need to investigate the volatile shilling.
“Two reasons have been given for the falling shilling; the cost of food and the cost of fuel. But Mr Speaker I don’t think this is true and that is why I feel we need another committee to probe this matter,” he said.
However Finance Committee Chair Jakoyo Midiwo objected to its establishment saying that his committee was already looking into the matter.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta also reiterated his remarks saying a new committee was unnecessary and there was risk in the duplication of roles.
“There is already the Finance Committee which is looking into this issue; which is the relevant House committee that should be looking into it. We cannot start duplicating the work of the committees by creating ad hoc committees because that is not only a waste of resources but a waste of time,” he said.
MPs could however not vote on the matter after the midmorning session ran out of time.