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PAC dissolved amid protests of double standards

Ababu Namwamba is among 6 MPs barred from sitting in the new PAC. Photo/ FILE

Ababu Namwamba is among 6 MPs barred from sitting in the new PAC. Photo/ FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – The National Assembly has approved recommendations by the Powers and Privileges Committee to dissolve the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and barred six members including chairman Ababu Namwamba from sitting in a reconstituted committee.

Kuresoi North MP Moses Cheboi who chaired the probe committee told the House that they recommended disciplinary action after the Committee found the six MPs had violated their privilege and conduct following allegations of corruption.

“It had never happened in the Parliaments I have known. It is a new one; that members can throw allegations against each other. It is new here,” said Cheboi.

The Privileges Committee has recommended that PAC chairman Ababu Namwamba, his deputy Cecily Mbarire and members Ahmed Abbas, James Bett, Omondi Anyanga be barred from the Committee when it is reconstituted after they failed to substantiate the corruption allegations they had made against their colleagues.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, who chairs the House Selection Committee, is now expected to nominate new members within seven days, after the list got the nod.

Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo unsuccessfully tried to stop debate by claiming the House would be in contempt of Court which is due to hear the matter on Thursday but Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso ordered the debate to continue.

“It is not evident whether the orders sought in the suit had been granted and that it was a matter of the House debating an internal matter. I am unable to find that continuing debate on this matter would prejudice any court worth its salt,” said Dr Laboso.

PAC vice chairman Cecily Mbarire and Kesses MP James Bett opposed the report saying the Cheboi team findings were biased.

“I withdrew the allegation and it is minuted. So what is the purpose of telling Members to withdraw and apologise and you still drag their names in the wrong lists? Please tell me if this is a House of fairness!” complained Mbarire.

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Cheboi said that it was considered unacceptable that Mbarire made a serious allegation and then withdrew it within minutes.

“It’s like boxing someone and then saying, I am sorry,” he said.

Suba MP John Mbadi accused Bett of having started the fight in the committee and then bringing it to the House while debating the report.

MPs who supported the report said it will help the House regain its dignity.

Only Anyanga agreed with the Privileges Committee, saying PAC “must be dissolved like yesterday.”

“We cannot be in a Committee where MPs accuse each other of corruption. Personally, if you connect me to corruption, I can even hang myself because that is not me,” he said.

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