Economy

MPs face ‘free homes’ bribery claims in pollution probe

Moitalel-Ole-Kenta

The 19-member committee is chaired by Narok North MP Moitalel Ole Kenta and deputised by nominated MP Godfey Otsotsi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • MPs are facing accusations of receiving bribes in the form of free and subsidised homes from a real estate firm to push for closure of London Distillers Kenya (LDK) Limited.
  • The alcohol manufacturer has written to House Speaker Justin Muturi seeking an inquiry into the bribery claims levelled against members of the Committee on Implementation of House Resolutions.

MPs are facing accusations of receiving bribes in the form of free and subsidised homes from a real estate firm to push for closure of London Distillers Kenya (LDK) Limited.

The alcohol manufacturer has written to House Speaker Justin Muturi seeking an inquiry into the bribery claims levelled against members of the Committee on Implementation of House Resolutions.

The accusations stem from the parliamentary probe of LDK for polluting the environment through toxic emissions and dumping of raw waste into Athi River following complaints by its neighbour, Erdemann Property Limited—which is behind the Great Wall Gardens apartments.

LDK, which manufactures Meakins, Napoleon, Kenya King and Safari brands, claims that lawmakers had been offered free houses to rule against it.

Erdemann and about 3,000 home buyers petitioned Parliament in 2018 to investigate the impact of LDK’s activities on the environment, with the distiller receiving backing from the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

“We would therefore request that you order for an inquiry to be conducted in order to ascertain whether the confidential information we have received that several members of the committee have acquired houses either freely or over subsidised rate through proxies, being family members, relatives or companies in which they have interests, [which] could have led to clear conflict of interest displayed,” Mohan Galot, the chairman of LDK, said in a letter to Mr Muturi.

Mr Galot asked the Speaker to reconstitute a new committee to handle the probe to uphold the integrity of Parliament.

In a letter dated March 22, 2021 and received by the National Assembly on March 25, 2021, Mr Galot complained that the perceived public display of bias against LDK by members of the committee would not allow it to participate in any further proceedings of the House team.

The 19-member committee is chaired by Narok North MP Moitalel Ole Kenta and deputised by nominated MP Godfey Otsotsi.

Other members are Alois Lentoimanga, Joseph Manje, Simba Arati, Richard Onyonka, Joseph Manje, Moses Kuria, Johnson Naicca and Nelson Koech.

Yesterday, Mr Ole Kenta said the committee woud not yield to alleged coercion or blackmail.

“We are not going to babysit anybody. We are not going to be cowed by anybody. They must comply with what the House recommended. Somebody is trying to run away from complying,” Mr Ole Kenta said.

Mr Mohan’s letter came in the wake of last month’s warning by the committee that Parliament would recommend closure of LDK’s plant in Athi River.

The team threw out the report commissioned by the Nema citing collusion between the agency and LDK.

The committee said the report, tabled by Nema director-general Mamo Boru Mamo, had been authored by a firm that is licensed by the watchdog contrary to a directive that an independent firm be hired to carry out investigations into allegations of pollution by LDK.

The committee is following up on the implementation of recommendations of the Environment and Natural Resources department, which accused the management of the alcoholic manufacturer of failing to comply with the environmental watchdog directives.

The report, filed in 2018 and adopted by the House, accused the distiller of lacking latest technology in the management of waste. “The manner in which the director-general of Nema was questioned and attacked by members of the committee was questionable, “said Mr Galot.