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Team absolves senators of bribery claims.

The Senate yesterday dismissed bribery claims by businessman Francis Mburu that some members solicited Sh100 million during investigations on the controversial Ruaraka land.

The Powers and Privileges Committee chaired by Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said affidavits by Mburu were filed outside the period given by the team that probed the matter.

The committee said the affidavits did not contain details that would form grounds for investigations.

'The committee is unable to undertake an inquiry on its own motion,' a report tabled by nominated senator Sylvia Kasanga says.

Mburu had claimed that senators Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay), Mithika Linthuri (Meru) and Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu) asked for the bribe to write a favourable report.

Kajwang chairs the County Public Accounts Committee that investigated the matter while Linturi and Wamatangi are members.

Mburu was expected to file his affidavit with Clerk Jeremiah Nyegeye by October 5, but submitted the claims on October 19.

Kajwang thanked the committee for absolving his team, saying the allegations were meant to intimidate his committee from carrying out its mandate.

'I was one of the persons of interest in the investigation and today I'm very relieved that the cloud of suspicion has finally been cleared,' Kajwang said.

'The Senate needs to take a position to protect oversight committees because the team is going to rattle the powerful and the mighty.'

The report was immediately debated. There has been public pressure on why the House had taken long to discuss the report.

Kajwang had, two weeks ago, written a protest letter to the Speaker questioning the delays in debating the report.

He said the matter ought to have been expeditiously considered given the term of his committee is almost ending.

'It is dangerous to allow a precedent where persons indicted by members of a committee make unsubstantiated allegations and cause the Powers and Privileges Committee to indefinitely suspend the work of the committee,' Kajwang said.

Deputy Speaker and Tharaka Nithi senator Kithure Kindiki defended the House leadership saying they were waiting for the Powers and Privileges committee to conclude its inquiry.

'This is a matter that has been held in abeyance for a long time. There has been a growing concern from the public but we can now proceed,' Kindiki said.

Kajwang who moved the motion on the report questioned why there have been delays by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption and the Director of Public Prosecutions to take action.

'There is a back and forth exchange of files between EACC and DPP while we have seen arrest and prosecution in other matters,' he said.

Kajwang's team investigated the circumstances under which Mburu, a director of Afrison Export and Import Ltd, was allegedly paid Sh1.5 billion as part of the deal for the compulsory acquisition of 13.5 acres of land that is also claimed by Ruaraka High School and Drive Inn Primary School.

The committee recommended that Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Education PS Belio Kipsang be held responsible over the acquisition of the Sh3.3 billion land by the government.

The team gave DPP Noordin Haji and the EACC three months to investigate the two and prosecute them if found culpable.

Matiang'i and Kipsang were found to have violated a report by the Ministry of Education recommending the claimant not be paid. Matiang'i was the the Education CS at the time.
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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Nov 16, 2018
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