, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – The National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba has been suspended to allow the Powers and Privileges Committee to investigate allegations of corruption, compromise and deceit by the members of the committee.
Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi issued the order and directed Moses Cheboi (Kuresoi) who doubles up as the First Chairperson of Committees to head the privileges committee on his behalf and within 21 days report to the House on the deliberations.
“Invoking the provisions of Standing Order 1, the operations of the Public Accounts Committee are hereby suspended until the expiry of the period I have prescribed or such earlier time the House shall make a resolution following an earlier submission of the Report by the Committee of Privileges– this direction does not amount to disbanding the Committee nor discharging any Member from the Committee,” ruled the Speaker.
The privileges committee would be tasked with probing the accusations most of which came out during the committee sitting on February 26, where members aired their ‘dirty linen’.
“The Committee of Privileges enquires into the matters of alleged breach of privileges and/or code of conduct of membership of the Public Accounts Committee, including recent claims of compromises, corruption and deceit, and submit a report to this House in accordance with Section 10(5) of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, (Cap 6 Laws of Kenya) within twenty one days from the date of this communication. The House will be expected to deliberate on the report within three days thereafter,” said the Speaker.
“May I also remind the Committee that, given the seriousness of an allegation of bribery, the standard of proof required to substantiate the claims ought to be very high,” he warned.
Muturi also said the committee has the liberty to co-opt not more than three other sitting Members who have served for more than one term to assist them in the Inquiry.
The co-opted members will however not be allowed to vote for purposes of quorum.
The committee which begins its sittings Monday afternoon is also expected to develop a code of conduct for Members of Parliament as required under Section 37 Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012 to be submitted before the end of August, this year.
“By referring this matter to the Committee of Privileges, it is not to put the Public Accounts Committee under trial, but it is to allow the relevant body of this House to attend to the allegations of breach of privilege and/or code of conduct so as to assist the House to make a decision,” added the Speaker.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, embattled PAC Chairman Ababu Namwamba blamed his woes on political witch hunt from his coalition maintain that he was innocent and the accusations against him were baseless.
The Speaker urged the committee to comprehensively handle the matter to ensure the respect and honour accorded to the House was maintained.