Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
The Senate Powers and Privileges Committee has commenced investigations into the claims that a House team solicited a Sh100 million bribe to go slow on a probe into Ruaraka land saga.
Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, who chairs the committee, said yesterday they had given the County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) chairperson Otieno Kajwang’ (Homa Bay) seven days to respond in writing on the allegations.
Businessman Francis Mburu—owner of the disputed land that hosts two city schools—claimed four senators had demanded Sh100 million from him to write “a favourable” report.
Lusaka directed Kajwang’ to substantiate his claim that Mburu’s allegations were an attempt to frustrate the probe.
“The committee has accordingly resolved that the chairperson of the CPAIC committee should formally furnish us with the position of his committee on the allegations in order for us to determine how to proceed,” said the Speaker.
Kajwang’ had faulted Mburu’s claims, accusing him of shifting attention from the committee’s recommendations to have him investigated for selling allegedly public land to the government.
Addressing journalists at Parliament Buildings, Lusaka said the allegations levelled against senators are “grave” and would constitute criminal offences, but added that his office had not received any official communication from relevant anti-corruption agencies on the same. He, however, clarified that debate on the Kajwang’ team’s report on the Ruaraka land saga would continue.
The report had implicated Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi (formerly Education CS), Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang and the now-suspended National Land Commission Muhamad Swazuri for approving Sh1.5 billion payments to Mburu’s firm for land on which the schools—Ruaraka Secondary and Drive-in Primary—sit.
The three-hour closed-door meeting chaired by Lusaka was attended by senators Falhada Iman (Nominated), Irungu Kangáta (Murang’a), Rose Nyamunga (Nominated) and Sylvia Kasanga (Nominated). They said the allegations must be considered carefully to eliminate possible witch-hunt.
Mburu is reported to have shared with detectives an audio he recorded of the senators purportedly extorting money from him.
The Ruaraka land scam is also under probe by the National Assembly and other investigative agencies. The matter, which has attracted public interest, is also in court.