NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – Tourism Assistant Minister Cecily Mbarire has denied allegations levelled against her and her husband by the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission Director PLO Lumumba who accused them of attempted bribery.
Ms Mbarire on Tuesday tabled photographs and an invitation card that Prof Lumumba had sent them to attend a fundraising in Bondo where her husband Dennis Apaa donated a cheque of Sh100,000 drawn in the name of Broad Vision Utilities Ltd.
The company is associated with Mr Apaa, who is under investigation by KACC over a contract scandal at the Water Ministry.
“The fact of the matter is that PLO did invite us to a fundraising of PLO Lumumba Foundation and Lucy Onono Memorial Foundation which was held in Bondo on August 6, and since I was unable to attend, my husband attended and gave out a cheque of Sh100,000,” Ms Mbarire told a press conference at Parliament Buildings, a day after Prof Lumumba accused the couple of having attempted to bribe him.
Prof Lumumba had mentioned inviting the couple to the said fundraising at his press conference on Monday. He said Mr Apaa had issued the cheque, but that it was returned because it “was not properly addressed.”
“When my husband gave out a cheque, PLO later called him and asked him to replace it with cash because the company in which it was drawn was under active investigation by KACC, and my husband did deliver the money to his office on August 10 and was given the cheque back. Why didn’t he arrest him then, if the issue of bribery was there?” Ms Mbarire posed.
When Prof Lumumba made the sensational allegations on Monday morning, he did not tell journalists if Mr Apaa ever visited his office to replace the cheque with cash.
Ms Mbarire told journalists on Tuesday that she is the one who sought Monday’s appointment to meet Prof Lumumba for an update of the status of their investigation after learning that the file on her husband’s company had been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“This was the reason I texted PLO to seek an appointment so that we could know the substance and charges if any that my husband would face,” she said, denying that: “This was neither sinister nor illegal as every person is entitled to be informed about charges likely to be preferred against them.”
“In any event we wouldn’t seek to influence PLO on the file since we knew it was already with the DPP,” she added.
She claimed it was Prof Lumumba who had insisted that she goes to his office with her husband, upon confirming the 6.30am Monday morning appointment.
“The reason we did not honour the appointment is because we had an uneasy night because our daughter was sick, so I sent PLO a text explaining that I would run late, He however, insisted that my husband goes to see him at 8.30 am as he would be leaving for Uganda,” she said.
On Monday, Prof Lumumba told journalists he believes the couple had failed to turn up in his office “because they were probably tipped off that I had organised a sting operation to arrest them because they were coming to bribe me.”
The KACC Director said all along he had been enticing them even to fundraising functions because he knew their intentions and Monday morning’s meeting was to be the climax of the whole saga.
“All along I have treated PLO as a friend I had worked with. We at no time planned to bribe, induce or influence him in any manner on any matter. As a family we are still in shock that he would do this to us,” she said and vowed to sue for defamation.
Among the things she is demanding is a public apology from Prof Lumumba.