, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday appealed to Senate Majority Deputy Leader Kipchumba Murkomen to stop politicising its investigations into the Sh1.8 billion fraud from the National Youth Service.
PAC Chairman Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) claimed Murkomen has been sending him abusive text messages even as he was chairing the sittings, where Murkomen’s law firm refused to submit its detailed bank statements from 2013 to date.
Gumbo said the matter got worse over the weekend when the Elgeyo Marakwet Senator verbally attacked the PAC Vice-Chairman Jackson Rop (Kipkelion West) during a public rally. Murkomen accused Rop of not doing enough to defend him and his law firm from attacks in the committee sittings.
“I know Senator Murkomen understands the privileges he has in this House. In fact, nothing stops him from coming here in this committee. Let him stop sending people abusive messages… there has to be decorum. Not everyone is privileged to be a Senator; privileges must be exercised with decorum and I said it on the Floor of the House, what we are interested in is the truth,” Gumbo stated.
The firm in which the Senator is a partner received Sh15 million from Out Of The Box Solutions Ltd, a company owned by former radio presenter Angela Angwenyi that was paid Sh90 million in a Sh302 million contract.
Maara South MP Kareke Mbiuki sought clarification from Sing’oei, Murkomen and Sigei Advocates Managing partner Hilary Sigei whether he was aware that his partner has been harassing members of the committee. The latest being an allegation carried in an SMS news alert which quoted Murkomen accusing the committee members of being compromised.
“There is a 411 which is owned by Capital FM, which is circulating alluding to a statement made by the law firm and it reads; Murkomen law firm demands PAC members publish their accounts to prove they are not compromised in NYS probe. I wanted him to clarify that,” posed Mbiuki.
Suba MP John Mbadi interjected stating that he had also fallen prey to similar scare attacks after National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Murkomen erroneously linked him to a company that had allegedly received payments from the NYS.
He said he was ready to publish details of his three bank accounts to the public for general investigations.
“He should clarify to us, whether you are doubting the members of this committee because I have heard even your partner saying publicly that some of us have benefited from the NYS, but they don’t say how. So I think you need to clarify that to us and if you don’t have the facts, you will have to apologise to us, because I don’t think Capital FM is wrong,” said MP.
Sigei, who was appearing before the committee for a second time, said that it would be wrong to disparage his firm as a result of its association with the Senator.
“If we will vilify businesses by the sheer fact that one is associated with Senator Murkomen, for example, a legitimate business which is run by Sigei who is not a politician, should not by that association be affected by such messages that come from a politician to another politician. We do not operate like that.”
Sigei had earlier declined to address Abdikadir Aden’s (Balambala MP) question on why he paid himself Sh500,000 from the Sh90millon, the firm had received from, Out Of The Box Solutions Ltd to process the purchase of a parcel of land Eldoret.
The Managing Partner remained adamant that the firm will not submit the documents to the House team because it is likely to expose them to legal suits from their clients who could easily move to court citing violation of privacy laws.
He instead advised the committee to seek the information from the concerned individuals and company.
Sigei drew the wrath of the committee members after he claimed that his firm was being unfairly singled-out over its handling of Sh15 million.
“What we are totally against is for the committee to use our firm as guinea pigs or fishing expedition. The politicization of this process only serves to undermine our legal practice and legal business. The ultimate result is economic sabotage and to hurt legitimate business,” he said.
MPs Manson Nyamweya (South Mugirango), Mbadi, Mbiuki backed their chairman by stating that Sigei had failed to take advantage of the committee’s invitation to set the record straight by refusing to make the documents available.