20 September 2018

Kenya: MPs Grilled By House Team Over Sugar Report Bribery Claims

Members of Parliament who made allegations that their colleagues were bribed with as little as Sh10,000 to shoot down a sugar report last month on Wednesday denied making such claims.

Despite television clips provided and played to them coupled with newspaper cuttings quoting them, majority of the lawmakers did not have any tangible evidence to provide to the Powers and Privileges Committee that began the probe yesterday.

Nine MPs appeared before the committee chaired by Speaker Justin Muturi to provide evidence that money changed hands in the corridors of Parliament with the sole aim of shooting down the report.

The first to appear before the committee was Kimilili MP Didmas Barasa who claimed that Wajir Woman Rep Fatuma Gedi tried to bribe him.

LITTLE AMOUNT

The MP maintained that indeed Ms Gedi approached her with an envelope containing Sh10,000 but he declined to take it.

"I can confirm that I saw Ms Gedi dishing out as little as Sh10, 000. She even attempted to give me the money but I refused," Mr Baraza said.

Mr Barasa said he was with Sirisia MP John Waluke when Ms Gedi approached him with the money at the chambers and challenged the committee to review the CCTV cameras.

However Mr Waluke denied sitting with Mr Baraza at the same place in the chambers on the fateful day.

Mr Waluke however said he met Mr Barasa in the corridors of Parliament and the later told him that a woman MP tried to bribe him with Sh10,000 but he said the money was too little.

"I asked him what if the amount could have been higher. He said if it could have been Sh100,000, he could have taken it," Mr Waluke told the committee.

APOLOGY

Muhoroni MP James K'Oyoo - who accused the Speaker of gagging him soon after the report was rejected - said he made the remarks out of emotions after he failed to get a chance to contribute to the report despite coming from a sugar belt.

"I want to offer my apology to the Speaker. It was a reaction out of resentment. I may have heard rumours that money exchanged hands but I don't have evidence and I don't want to tarnish the name of my colleagues," Mr K'Oyoo said.

Matayos MP Geoffrey Odanga said he was approached by Kuresoi South MP Joseph Tonui while having lunch at the new restaurant who told him to go and collect money I a room.

"I was at the restaurant having lunch when I was approached by Kuresoi South MP who told me to go to a room and collect Sh20,000 in order to vote against the report," Mr Odanga said.

EVIDENCE

He told the MPs that he did not take the money and instead went to the chambers ready for the debate.

Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati said nobody approached him with Sh10,000 and that all stories in the newspapers are not true.

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi told the committee he never mentioned that any member has received any bribe.

"On matters of bribes, I have no evidence and I don't believe an MP can be bribed with as little as sh10,000 on an important matter like this," Mr Osotsi said.

Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara also denied making comments that MPs were bribed to shoot down the report this despite a video evidence produced and played.

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