MPs want probe on Linturi bribe claims

Wednesday, May 15th, 2024 04:00 | By
Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi speaking when he launched the National Coconut Planting Week in the coastal region at Tezo area, Kilifi County on April 17. PHOTO/Ronald Mwadzombo
Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi speaking when he launched the National Coconut Planting Week in the coastal region at Tezo area, Kilifi County on April 17. PHOTO/Ronald Mwadzombo.

A section of lawmakers now want thorough investigations into claims that money changed hands with a view to exonerate  Agriculture and Livestock Cabinet secretary Mithika Linturi from blame in the fake fertiliser scandal probe.

In particular the MPs demanded that the Powers and Privileges Committee as well as other investigative agencies such as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) be seized of the matter as it had put Parliament to shame.

The Powers and Privileges Committee is chaired by National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula and its main function is to examine every matter involving breach of privilege of the House or of the Members of any Committee thereof referred to it by the House or by the Speaker.

Investigate grievances

Linturi was saved from ouster after seven members of the 11-team of the Select Committee formed to investigate grievances raised by Bumula MP Jack Wamboka against him cleared him.

The remaining four dissented and wrote a minority report claiming that their colleagues predominantly from the Kenya Kwanza side had been compromised to vote against all the grievances raised. The calls for the investigations  came on a day fresh details emerged over how a senior official working in parliament allegedly met Linturi on May 1 immediately after Wetangula had approved the impeachment motion, to deliberate on how to save him from ouster.

Sources privy to the intrigues, revealed that the said official assured the CS that resources would be mobilised to ensure that he is saved from ouster.

It was understood that apart from the said meeting, a lot of other underhand dealings as well as meetings were held in high offices in government where it was agreed that Linturi should be saved as he was not to blame for the alleged scandal.

Said the source who requested anonymity: “You all know what happened, this meeting I am telling you happened in one of the hotels and the deal was sealed that he (Linturi) should be saved.”

Probe the matter

But yesterday MPs John Mbadi (Nominated), Tindi Mwale (Butere) and Otiende Amollo (Rarieda) who spoke separately said there is need for a probe in order to  close the matter.

Mbadi was categorical that EACC should be called in to investigate  the matter which has put parliament to shame. He said it is regrettable that Sh5 million was being mentioned as the buying price for members  to save Linturi.

He said: “I think those are not issues that you can just wish away. In fact, the amount has been mentioned and there is consistency in the amount. This matter needs to be dealt with by the Powers and Privileges Committee and it may even go to the extent of asking EACC to investigate because it is very unfortunate and if it happened then the Members affected have a lot of explanations to do.”

He added: “The day before yesterday (Monday), the figure of Sh5 million has been mentioned, on Monday the same amount was still being mentioned. To me that is a serious matter more so that this is an issue that is of serious interest to the country in terms of compromising the food security.”

Mwale backed the calls for investigations warning that a bad precedent would have been  set if no action is taken over  the bribery allegations.

He said: “We need to investigate the allegations, we need to use the relevant institutions as enshrined in our constitution to do investigations to see that the allegations of bribery are substantiated.”

Amollo who was the first to speak on floor of the House, told Wetangula to direct  the committee on Powers and Privileges to  investigate Members who were alleged to have  engaged in such acts as a number of members had opened up to him.

He said: “In that event Mr Speaker it is necessary that legally and by our procedures that such an issue is referred to the Powers and Privileges Committee because in case  there is any truth , then  it would result in the report being annuity and this house re-initiating the process again. In that event it would not be right to discuss the report.”

On Monday, Wamboka  and Busia Women Representative who was also a  member of the select committee Catherine Omanyo admitted to members that money changed hands as some of the committee members were approached to vote against the impeachment motion.

Omanyo claimed that certain individuals  had approached her on Sunday evening with money in order to influence on the way she would vote for the report.

She claimed that during the probe , they faced cases of intimidation including lights being switched off, advocates disappearing and threats being meted on them.

“There was a lot of money, a lot and as late as yesterday 11 pm because we had not voted, one approached me. They knew we would vote today because the first vote was done at 9 am today and when we differed on this, we went ahead and came up with a dissenting opinion.”

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