NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 14 – A Kenya Airports Authority senior official was on Tuesday ejected from the sitting of a National Assembly committee after MPs claimed he was not cooperating.
KAA Acting Finance Manager Patrick Chonde was asked to leave the hearings by the Committee on Transport after the chairman Maina Kamanda said he had been coached on his presentation.
“You have prepared your own questions and answering them, how do you want to take the committee?” posed Kamanda.
Kamanda continued; “Answer the question I am asking you… who asked you to answer this question? I have not asked you to answer this question; listen to the members and listen to the questions they are going to ask you!”
Chonde who had appeared before the committee probing the procurement of five apron airbuses at the JKIA, preferred to read from a questionnaire he had prepared instead of responding to queries raised by the MPs.
Attempts by Chonde to defend himself fell on deaf ears as MPs called for his ejection.
The KAA official explained that he drafted the questionnaire after last Thursday’s aborted meeting, where a member of the committee asked him if he had a document he was going to submit before the committee.
The House Standing Orders allow a witness or member of the public appearing before a committee to assist it with information to make a formal statement.
“You have worked as Deputy Finance General Manager for 10 years, all this time Mr (John) Thumbi has been your senior; you sat with him and prepared this document, because they were here and these are the questions we asked them and because they were unable to answer these questions then he put you through this and gave you this document, isn’t it?”
“Chair, with sincerity I have never even spoken to Thumbi or any other person who was here, that is the true position. I have never even spoken to Thumbi even on phone,” Chonde told the committee.
The probe follows the suspension of six senior management staff after President Uhuru Kenyatta questioned the rationale of leasing five ramp passenger buses at Sh10 million per month and ordered the arrest of those involved.
The Kenya Airports Authority Board last month fired three of its senior officials including the Managing Director Lucy Mbugua, General Manager Finance John Thumbi and the acting airport Engineer Christopher Warutere over the airport bus scam.
The tender was awarded in May 2012 and a team was formed to negotiate with Relief and Missions Logistics on the operation of the buses.