NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19 – Members of Parliament issued contradicting statements on whether some of their colleagues were bribed to shoot down a Joint Parliamentary Committee report that was investigating the sugar crisis in the country.
Appearing before the Powers and Privileges Committee chaired by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa says that he was approached by Wajir Woman Representative Fatuma Gedi who offered him Sh10,000 requesting him to reject the report.
“She came to me with an envelope and I asked her what was inside and she said Sh10,000 that I should take it and reject the sugar report. In fact, I was shocked as to why she would offer me money and she does not come from sugarcane growing areas and my conclusion was that she was protecting someone,” said Barasa.
He added that he was in the company of Sirisia MP John Waluke when money was being dished out and that they even protested together.
He further stated that his confessions were not meant to tarnish anyone’s name saying he had nothing against the Wajir Woman Representative.
But Waluke denied that he was in the company of MP Barasa adding that he was not aware of money being offered.
“To be sincere with this committee, Didmus told me that he was given Sh10,000 to reject the report and I asked if he took money he said no. I went ahead and asked why and he told me it was too little that if it was Sh100,000 he would have taken but I was not with him when the person made the offer,” said Waluke.
On his part, Muhoroni MP James K’Oyoo says he did not witness any MP being given money although he heard about the accusations while Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati who is a member of the joint committee maintained that the report was doctored.
“I know I am on record saying the Speaker gagged the debate where that report was to be discussed but I want to apologize because I spoke out of emotions due to pain of losing a report that could have saved Kenyans,” K’Oyoo apologised.
“I heard that some members were given tokens to reject the report but I have no evidence to prove that though and I myself have never been approached by anyone.”
Others who testified include Naivasha MP Jane Kihara and Nominated MP Geoffrey Osotsi who all denied the allegations.
The report by the Joint Committee Chaired by Kieni MP Kanini Kega and Mandera South MP Aden Haji recommended Treasury CS Henry Rotich be held accountable for sanctioning a duty-free window that opened the floodgates for importers to import excess sugar tax free.
On the part of former Industrialization CS Adan Mohamed, the parliamentary team noted that he failed in his mandate of ensuring that the Kenya Bureau of Standards carried out its role of ensuring that the imported sugar was safe for human consumption and said he should take responsibility.