NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – Public Accounts Committee Chairman (PAC) Ababu Namwamba is demanding a public hearing from the Powers and Privileges Committee which is expected to grill him over allegations of corruption and bribery on Wednesday.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Namwamba expressed concern that the Committee had been allowed to hold the session in camera, saying the matter was of public interest and should not be held in secrecy.
“I am surprised that you have granted the committee’s request to hold its sittings in camera. The proceedings are akin to a historic trial of the integrity of the House. Parliament is a public institution that represents the people. Nothing should be hidden from the same people we represent. I demand a public hearing,” read part of the letter.
The Budalangi legislator also expressed fear that new issues had been dragged into the probe which he said was likely to open a channel for witch-hunt and urged the Speaker to advice the committee to stick to the agenda of the probe.
“While your directions were for the committee to investigate matters arising from proceedings in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), specifically the matters considered by the committee at its sitting of February 26th, 2015, the attempt by the committee to introduce new issues appears tailor made to plug this loophole so that pre-determined guilty verdict is arrived at by all means,” said Namwamba
It had been reported that the committee intended to summon ODM party leader Raila Odinga since Namwamba reportedly recorded one of his conversations with him.
While expressing reservations over the committee’s mandate to investigate another committee yet there were institutions established by the Constitution to deal with such matters, the Budalang’i MP said he respected the authority of the Speaker and would thus honour the summons by the committee chaired by Kuresoi MP Moses Cheboi.
On Tuesday, Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma urged Namwamba and his PAC counterparts who have been summoned to disregard the directive by the probe committee, as Parliament cannot investigate itself, and he instead proposed that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission take over the matter.
Namwamba who doubles ups as the ODM Secretary General also urged the committee to probe all the works of the watchdog committee pointing out that some of the reports it had submitted were yet to be tabled by the House Business Committee which he accused of mischief.
“I invite the Privileges Committee to also inquire into the circumstances surrounding the Hustlers’ Jet Report, which I tabled in the House on April 24, 2014, but quite strangely the House Business Committee has never balloted it for debate by the House a whole year since tabling,”
“I believe this integrity probe must extend to all facets of House operations that affect the committees work,” he added
Namwamba is scheduled to hold a press briefing soon after his appearance before the powerful House Committee in an attempt to clear his name from the allegations that have bedevilled him.