MPs deny linkage to food scandal

January 23, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – Legislators Ababu Namwamba of Budalangi and Cherangany’s Joshua Kutuny have dismissed rumours that they are involved in the current maize scandal and called on the police to conduct thorough investigations.

The MPs said on Friday that the rumours were politically instigated by people out to assassinate their characters by linking them to scandals.

“I have never, ever in my entire life imagined or even dreamt of trading in anything other than my intellect,” said Mr Namwamba. “I went to school to sharpen my mind so that it can be my tool of trade and I want to assure the people of Kenya that I have absolutely nothing to do with any scandal in this country.”

“If indeed any evidence is brought forward to connect me to this maize scandal or any other scandal, I will be ready to resign my seat as Member of Parliament for Budalangi,” he added.

His Cherangany counterpart said he was ready to face the law if found to be implicated.

“And even if I am mentioned, I will not be scared to stand before a tribunal,” he said.

Mr Namwamba described his reputation and character “as clean as snow”.

“And I want to challenge anybody who has even a single shred of evidence to step forward and bring that evidence,” he dared, adding that he is under an oath of office that bars him from engaging in corruption.

“Because when I took the oath of office to serve the people of Budalangi, one of my motivations was to change the culture of politics and one of the worst cultural characteristic of politics in this country, which includes corruption, deceit, dishonesty and fidelity,” he said.

In Parliament on Thursday, Mr Namwamba had challenged Agriculture Minister William Ruto to table a list of people and companies which had acquired maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

“I challenged the Minister to read the list, because I am confident that my name cannot appear in it or any other list of corruption,” he stated.

Mr Namwamba said members of the political caucus were seeking to establish owners of the listed companies whom they pledged to expose.

While the Budalangi MP believes some of those listed may have acquired maize procedurally, he said many of them were people who could’ve obtained maize clandestinely.

Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti has warned that those found culpable in the food scam would face the law.

He said Ministers, politicians and businessmen and women were under investigation to determine their role in the scandal that has left nearly 10 million Kenyans starving.

“We will not spare anyone. Whoever is found guilty will be prosecuted and it is just a matter of time before the culprits are brought to book,” he said.

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) have been conducting a probe into the maize scandal but no politician has been questioned so far.

Six of the politicians, who were lined up for questioning before the end of the week, were yet to record statements.

A source at the CID told Capital News that they had questioned four senior officials at the NCPB and were speaking to MPs.

“Investigations are proceeding on well, hopefully, suspects will appear in court next week,” he said.

KACC and the CID were ordered to investigate reports that unscrupulous traders were purchasing maize from the NCPB for export to other countries like Southern Sudan, where a 90-kilogram bag reportedly retails at Sh6,000, four times more than the local price.


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