, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 25 – A Member of Parliament linked to one of five companies contracted by the National Cereal and Produce Board to import 18,000 tonnes of maize during the 2004 drought on Thursday declined to take an oath before a parliamentary committee.
Sirisia MP John Waluke who is a director of ERAD, also declined to give evidence before the Public Investment Committee which is probing how the company obtained court orders to sell assets belonging to the strategic food reserve agency in order to recover a Sh564 million yet it did not supply a single grain of maize.
“I will abide by the evidence that was given by my two directors and I am not giving any evidence,” said Waluke.
The MP objected to being sworn-in claiming that he did not have fresh evidence to submit that would add value to that produced by ERAD director Jacob Juma, prompting committee chairman Adan Keynan to adjourn the sitting.
“If you think you want to shed more light, and for me I want to persuade you it is in your interest, it is in the interest of ERAD; it is in the interest of everybody that you take an oath and give us whatever little information that you have. We don’t have to create hype out of this particular issue. It’s totally uncalled for,” Keynan who is also the Eldas MP said.
Keynan told Waluke that he had to take the oath adding that he did not want the committee to be seen as ‘applying the law selectively.’
This comes a week after drama before another House Committee after IEBC officials objected to taking oaths and accused the members of “harassing them.”
“If you take the latter route we will subject you to an oath, if you take the other we will release because that brings us to the end of our interaction with you,” Keynan stated.
“Before I allow you to address the committee tell me which of the routes you are going to take.”
The lawmaker then declined.
ERAD failed to deliver the maize which it claimed it would have been imported from Ethiopia, leading to termination of the contract.
The company has brought the NCPB operations to a halt by seizing its assets until the remaining Sh267 million is paid.
The firm moved to an arbitrator and was awarded Sh564 million for breach of the contract, but NCPB contested the decision at the High Court.