, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – The Public Investment Committee (PIC) of the National Assembly has directed Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli to stop making public comments on the tender for construction of the multibillion shilling Standard Gauge Railway from Mombasa to Nairobi until two parliamentary committees complete their investigations.
PIC Chairman Adan Keynan gave the order as MPs sitting on the committee claimed the comments are likely to sway public confidence in their investigation.
“I can appreciate the challenges of Mr Nduva and his cohort because this is their baby until a decision is made otherwise. I think they will do what it takes to stand by this project,” said the PIC chairman.
“Since we are still investigating, please we want to urge him to apply all the due diligence in his public pronouncements so that we can conclude this fairly, objectively and so that we can give Kenyans value for their money.”
Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa had raised the matter during the committee sitting, where he informed the House team that Muli had on several occasions been quoted saying “the railway project must go on.”
“Mr Chairman, I am asking that the committee consider putting sanctions on this kind of utterances, because the public may think our investigations have no basis,” Wamalwa said.
The order comes a week after the House Speaker Justin Muturi banned MPs from commenting on the matter before the committee has made its report to the House.
An exchange between Minority Leader Francis Nyenze and Aldai MP Cornelly Serem brought some light moments to the sittings.
Nyenze had interjected on Wamalwa’s call for sanctions against Muli, stating that the Transport PS was only repeating the President’s remarks on the project, to which Serem said ‘Mr Chairman, I understand that Hon Nyenze has the right to protect the neighbour.”
He was however ordered to withdraw and apologise for the comment because it implied that Nyenze was defending Muli because they come from the same ethnic community.
The Transport PS is expected to appear before the committee on Wednesday to clarify claims that construction specifications detailed in the contract signed between China and Kenya differ from what the government and Transport Secretary Michael Kamau have been telling the public.
Muli who has already appeared before the House team will be making his second appearance before the committee, this time as the former MD of the Kenya Railways Corporation.
This is after committee vice-chairman Kimani Ichung’wah and Limuru MP John Kiragu (who formerly worked as an engineer with the Kenya Railways) noted that while Kamau and Muli have been adamant that the China Roads and Bridges Corporation (CRBC) has been contracted