Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
West Kenya Sugar Company chairman Jaswant Rai was yesterday mentioned in the ongoing bribery probe against MPs on a day some members confirmed legislators were given as little as Sh10,000 to reject the sugar report.
The Powers and Privileges Committee, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, heard that the MPs were given the money in the washrooms to shoot down the report.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula told PPC that integrity of members started deteriorating when those in the joint committee that was probing the sugar crisis were spotted hugging and shaking hands with Rai.
He said the manner in which the MPs were acting around Rai was a clear indication it was an avenue for corruption since Standing Orders prohibit members against being cosy around witnesses who appear for grilling.
“When Rai appeared before the joint committee, the MPs present rushed to greet him,” he said, adding that, “The entire committee members were angling towards Rai, in fact, they were lining up to greet him. What can you call this; I am still bitter with this sugar issue.”
The new revelations came as Wajir Women’s Rep Fatuma Gedi defended herself against accusation that she was used to bribe members to reject the report.
She told the committee that she only lobbied and persuaded members in the chambers and outside to reject the sugar report that indicted Cabinet secretaries Adan Mohammed and Henry Rotich.
“As a Muslim woman and a woman from Wajir County, it pains me to hear these allegations; however, I would like to confirm that I did not bribe any member in that House, I do not have that kind of money to bribe 349 members,” she said.
She, however, admitted that CS Mohammed comes from her region but said she lobbied against the report because “it was shoddy.” “I lobbied and persuaded other members to reject the report just like other members were doing. I talked to all the members because I had a reservation of the report right from the word go,” she said.
She termed allegations by Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa and Kiambu Women’s Rep Gathoni Wamuchomba that she is the one who was dishing out money as “false and baseless”.
Gedi claimed Wamuchomba has been bitter ever since she lost to her for the position of chair of the Caucus for the 47 Women Representatives. She also denied having met Baraza or giving him Sh10,000 as part of bribes as he had earlier alleged.
“I don’t have any issues with Hon Baraza; in fact, I never met him inside or outside the House all that time. I do not know what issues he has with me,” he said.