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Wako can skip Parliament, Speaker rules

NAIROBI, July 15 – The Attorney General will not be penalised for missing more than eight Parliamentary sessions, the National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende has ruled.

Making the judgement on Tuesday, Marende said Section 39 of the Constitution, which recommends action to be taken on a member (of Parliament) who misses sittings eight consecutives times, does not apply to the AG.

“The AG does not require the permission of the Speaker to be away from Parliament so he will not lose his seat,” the Speaker communicated to members.

Marende however stated that like other MPs the AG has to notify him if he was travelling outside the country, with the destination, dates of intended travel and period of absence included.

The Speaker said: “Standing orders require that you communicate when travelling abroad whether on official or personal business.”

Last Thursday, the Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara asked Marende to rule on how long the AG Amos Wako could be allowed to absent himself from the August House.

Imanyara had argued that the AG had abstained from House business for some time, and yet he was the legal Government advisor.

Marende defended on Tuesday that the AG had in fact written to him, indicating that he would be absent from the country on official business from July to August this year.

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The AG had requested that Motions, questions or Bills requiring his response not be brought before the House.

Following the communication, Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale urged the Speaker to give Wako time to defend himself, even while away, against allegations made by Former Finance Minister Amos Kimunya charging that he was involved in the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel.

“Just like the Prime Minister, the AG should be afforded an opportunity to tell the House what he knew in respect to the sale of the Hotel,” the MP said.

The Speaker said the House would extend indulgence to the AG if he seeks to be accorded that opportunity.

Wako, who was in the Assembly, said he would be appearing before Parliament’s Finance and Trade Committee to give evidence on what he knew of the sale.

The Committee, chaired by Nambale MP Chris Okemo, was last week given a fortnight by the Speaker to complete and present a report to Parliament on the sale of the multi-billion shilling property.

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