, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi has warned members of Parliament against leaking to the public information from deliberations of a committee before its report is tabled on the floor of the House.
Muturi said his attention had been drawn to the continuous reporting of the proceedings of the Powers and Privileges Committee which is probing the allegations of corruption against the Public Accounts Committee chaired by Budalangi legislator Ababu Namwamba.
“Any members commenting on matters before a committee or making disparaging remarks against their fellow members in whatever forum in breach of the Standing Orders will be held personally responsible and will face the full wrath of the House – some of these comments amount to libel and given that they are being peddled away from the committee sittings or the chamber are therefore not privileged and are actionable,” he added.
Standing order 86 prohibits members from reporting or publicising the information shared in a committee sitting before the report is submitted to the House.
The Speaker also directed the privileges committee which is set to begin grilling Ababu Namwamba Thursday to conduct its sittings in camera, against calls by Namwamba to have the session in the full glare of the public.
“I have also granted leave to the committee to conduct its proceedings in camera but may brief the media on the progress of the inquiry without going into the substance of the proceedings,” stated the Speaker.
Muturi also urged members with information relevant to the investigation by the privileges committee to pass it to them instead making comments in public forums.
Namwamba had initially stated that he wanted to have the hearings done in public as the process would be more accountable; he however acknowledged that the committee was at liberty to determine how the grilling would be done.
The Speaker’s ruling deals a blow to the highly anticipated press briefing by Namwamba which he had said would be held soon after his appearance before the committee where he would share information on the on goings in the meeting.