Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu inched closer to losing her job after MPs across the political divide almost unanimously voted to hold her “personally responsible” for flouting the Constitution in appointing Peter Kahuho as director-general of Lands.
Ms Ngilu faces a censure motion after the motion was adopted and she could be removed from office on grounds of violation of the Constitution and gross misconduct should an MP invoke Article 152 of the Supreme Law.
The politician is, however, not new to controversy having survived a storm at the former Ministry of Water over procurement that landed a number of people in court.
MPs supported an amendment by Ugunja MP James Wandai to force Ms Ngilu “to take responsibility for the unconstitutional, illegal and irregular procedural acts of creating offices and making arbitrary appointments, promotions and transfers of staff in the ministry”.
“Further, the Cabinet secretary should be held to account for any undesired consequences such as, but not limited to, financial loss that may arise from the aforementioned acts of commission on her part,” read part of the amendment that Mr Wandai proposed.
The joint committee on Lands and Delegated Legislation investigated the appointment of Mr Kahuho as the director of Lands in charge of signing title deeds replacing former commissioner of Lands Zablon Mabea.
“The CS in doing all these violated the oath of office that she took by contravening Articles 152, 153 and the schedule of the Constitution.
‘‘She should be held to account for any financial loss that may arise from her actions,” Mr Wandai, who was support by Ms Ngilu’s Jubilee Leader of Majority Adan Duale said.
In its recommendations, the committee demanded all officers who had been irregularly or un-procedurally removed from office be reinstated and the purported transfers be revoked with immediate effect.
The committee said all irregular promotions or appointments in acting capacity must be reversed and due process, as laid out by the Public Service Commission, followed in appointments, promotions, transfers and establishment of offices at the ministry. Ms Ngilu failed to involve the Public Service Commission contrary to Article 234 of the Constitution.
Legislators warned the confusion created in the signing of titles could result in devastating economic consequences given that lending institutions would shy away from accepting the documents as collateral.
The debate on the report was characterised by allegations of bribery and division on whether or not the House should adopt it.
Mr Duale and Suba MP John Mbadi claimed some members had been bribed to oppose recommendations declaring her actions null and void.
“The report raises substantial constitutional issues. I will never defend a position of government if it contravenes the Constitution. This House must rise above cheap money, clan and ethnic interest. If Duale commits a crime, he should face the full length of law,” said Mr Duale.
He said Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo had approached him to stay away from the debate claiming he had information that a dossier detailing his deals was being prepared for tabling.
Mr Mbadi, who together with Kirinyaga Central MP David Gitari, triggered the preparation of the report warned “those officers who had been conned by brokers in the name of persuading me to drop the request for the statement” should be punished by the House.
“Those taking advantage of my statement to settle political scores or bring a group of corrupt people in the system must be warned that we will get to you,” Mr Mbadi said.
Attempts to link Mr Gitari to a number of companies alleged to have interest in the Ministry of Lands flopped on Tuesday when the Speaker, Justin Muturi, threw out uncertified documents that were tabled by Mbooni MP Kisoi Munyao.
A number of MPs including Jimmy Angwenyi, Peris Tobiko — who took the gender angle — and Bishop Robert Mutemi came to the defence of Ms Ngilu saying there was a clear attempt to remove her from office.
“Arbitrary appointments, transfers and promotions should come to an end… we should end impunity regardless of gender. We should not run to ethnicity when cornered,” Busia county MP Florence Mutua said.