, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – Defence Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo has termed claims that he bribed members of the Public Accounts Committee as utter nonsense, and is now threatening court action against those implicating him.
Iringo says he has never and will never bribe anyone and challenged the MPs to come out in the open and stop taking advantage of parliamentary privileges to make statements bent on tarnishing and destroying other people’s reputations.
“I am shocked by the continued peddling of falsehoods of bribing Honourable Members of Parliament. I wish to categorically state that these reports are false, malicious and unfounded and are without any basis whatsoever,” said Iringo.
“I challenge those shielding behind the veil of parliamentary immunity to come out in the open and repeat the same allegations so as to afford me a fair chance of responding to them,” he added.
The PS says the issue of confidential expenditure had been put to rest as he had satisfactorily responded to the Public Accounts Committee over queries raised by the Auditor General.
“It is now seven months since all queries on this matter were raised and fully settled. I find the malice disturbing and calculated to tarnish my reputation. The people making allegations are good students of Hitler who are perfecting his theory to the effect that a lie repeated over and over again may appear to resemble truth,” stated Iringo.
He blamed the allegations being propagated on political games being played by the MPs.
Iringo’s reaction was triggered by the release of an audio recording by PAC chairman Ababu Namwamba detailing a discussion between him and three other individuals where allegations were made that Iringo had given Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga Sh1.5 million to have his name expunged from a report showing the misappropriation of public funds.
According to the MPs, Iringo had promised to give them business in the Defence Ministry where he is the PS if ‘they did his work’.
One of the committee members Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West) even confessed in the audio recording that he was given Sh200,000 by Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga who is reported to have been given over Sh1.5 million.
Although he refused to state where and when the recording was done and by whom, Namwamba who doubles up as the ODM Secretary General named the other individuals in the conversation as Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga and himself.
Namwamba claimed the committee was being fought by certain forces due to the cases it was probing for instance the Judiciary, IEBC, the confidential expenditure issue among others.
In the conversation, Arama accuses Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale of working with one of the members, Ijara MP Ibrahim Abass, to stifle activities in the committee.
He says they were keen on stalling the investigation into the procurement of IEBC materials used in the previous general election and the hustler’s Jet report which Namwamba says despite submitting it to the House one year ago, it was yet to be debated.
And now, the Budalang’i lawmaker claims his life is in danger.
Namwamba said since he made public the rot in the watchdog committee, he has concerns about the safety of his family adding that he intended to voice his concerns with the Criminal Investigation Department.
“I feel that my life is in danger, I am not entirely safe because of the many powerful forces at play here. Mr Chairman, whether you are talking about office of the President, IEBC, Judiciary, hustler’s jet, you are talking about powerful forces,” said Namwamba.
“I want it to be known today on the record of the House that I walk away not feeling entirely safe,” he added.
Members of Parliament from the Western region who were present during the grilling led by Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu demanded security for Namwamba.
The leaders promised to stand in solidarity with Namwamba, calling for the beefing up of his security while at the same time urging the Privileges Committee to extend the probe to other committees which they say was also dogged with malpractices.
Homa Bay MP Peter Kaluma who acted as Namwamba’s counsel during the probe implored the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi to ensure the reports by PAC which were yet to be brought before the House were tabled.