Ababu refuses to apologise over PAC bribery claims

What you need to know:

  • Namwamba has been suspended from Parliament for four days after he refused to apologize for making unsubstantiated bribery claims.

Embattled former Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Ababu Namwamba has been suspended from Parliament for four days after he refused to apologize for making unsubstantiated bribery claims against his members.

Mr Namwamba, who was removed from the watchdog committee on Tuesday after MPs voted to adopt recommendations of the Powers and Privileges committee, said PAC membership had been sacrificed to cover up corruption in Parliament.

The Powers committee, chaired by Kuresoi North MP Moses Cheboi, recommended that PAC be reconstituted and five members, including Namwamba, be sanctioned for making allegations they couldn’t substantiate.

The committee invoked Standing Order 91 and demanded that Mr Namwamba (Budalangi), James Bett (Kesses), Mohammed Abas (Ijara) and Omondi Anyanga (Nyatike) tender a public apology to the House or be suspended for four days.

The committee investigated claims of breach of privileges and code of conduct as well as taking bribes, doctoring and leaking committee reports.

Deputy Speaker Dr Joyce Laboso granted the affected MPs an opportunity to apologise according to a House resolution but when Namwamba was called, he declined to do so.

“It was necessary to make clarifications as our names were already being drugged in the mud,” the Budalangi MP and Orange Democratic Movement secretary general argued. “Public Accounts Committee has been made a sacrificial lamb to hide the corruption dealings.”

Namwamba was found guilty of making unsubstantiated claims against some PAC members in a secretly recorded conversation between him, CORD leader Raila Odinga, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed and Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West).

Asked about a letter he had handed to Speaker Justin Muturi seeking to step aside pending investigations, Mr Ababu said he withdrew it in good faith.

He had written requesting to be exempted from House and committee sittings until the EACC concluded its investigations into the PAC scandal.

The scandal erupted when it was claimed suspended Defence secretary Mutea Iringo had bribed PAC members to influence the outcome of investigations into how Sh2.8 billion was spent by the Office of the President in 2013/14.

Mr Namwamba told the House that the report on corruption handed to EACC was a pack of contradictions and that he was acting as a witness in providing information to the best of his knowledge.

“EACC did not consider me a subject. I was required as a witness and my obligation was to provide the information,” he said.

Namwamba said he invited the EACC to investigate bribery allegations facing his committee in a letter that leaked and would not apologize for “saying the truth about committee dealings”.

Dr Laboso ruled that the House had expressed its displeasure on how Mr Namwamba breached the integrity of PAC, bringing it into public ridicule.

She proceeded to order Mr Namwamba to withdraw from the House and remain suspended for the next four sitting days. Namwamba will, therefore, miss four sitting allowances totalling Sh20,000 and other privileges accorded to MPs.

In tendering his apology, Mr Arama said he was forced to comment when Mr Ababu insisted on appearing in media stations to discuss the issue.

“Honourable Ababu was hopping from one media house to another discussing the issue,” Arama said. “I could not keep quiet.”

Mr Anyanga expressed regret for delaying his apology to the House within the stipulated one day. Both he and Mr Bett apologized, escaping a reprimand.

Mr Abas was absent and would be required to apologise at the next sitting when he will be in the House.

PAC was disbanded on Tuesday over claims of receiving enticement to influence the outcome of investigations facing public officials.

The committee on Selection, that appoints members to various House committees, has seven days to reconstitute PAC without Mr Namwamba, Cicely Mbarire (vice chairperson), Anyanga, Abas and Bett.

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