Water scam probe gets murkier

March 15, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 – Proceedings before a Parliamentary committee investigating alleged corruption at the Ministry of Water have turned fiery after Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri accused committee members of graft.
The whistle-blower Kiunjuri alleged that a committee member had approached him asking him to influence one of the contractors under probe to bribe the committee like other contractors were doing.

Mr Kiunjuri was forced to withdraw his allegations twice after he claimed he could sense that there were underhand dealings within the committee carrying out the investigation.

“Mr Chairman, one of your members had asked me to go and talk to one of the contractors because already a lot of money is flowing to the committee and you required some money to support this case,” claimed Mr Kiunjuri.

He added: “I am going to write to the Powers and Privileges Committee and the Speaker about how you are handling this matter.”

He accused the committee of intimidating people testifying against Water Minister Charity Ngilu and members of the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation.

“Corruption is inside this committee,” he said in his second claim before the team that is chaired by Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi.

Mr Kiunjuri was transferred from the Water Ministry to that of Public Works at the height of his disagreement with Mrs Ngilu.

The Minister alleged that a member of the committee had attempted to influence Board Chairman Geoffrey Mang\’uriu to withdraw his evidence.

“He approached the Chairman while in Nakuru and asked him to withdraw all the evidence he has against acting Managing Director of the Corporation, Petronillah Ogut and work with other members of the committee,” he said.

“That is a threat and an inducement.”

The committee is collecting evidence in which Mrs Ngilu and the corporation is on the spotlight over flouting or rules in awarding contracts, nepotism and the inflation of prices.

Vice Chairperson Peris Simam who led the delegation that went to Bardasa dam via Nakuru confirmed that the Chairman was with them but said, “I am not sure whether he had a chat with the board chairman.”

Mrs Ngilu was expected to appear before the committee later in the day to clear her name.

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