Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has, once again, skipped invitations to appear before a joint House committee investigating contraband sugar imports.
Dr Matiang’i was on Tuesday expected to answer questions from the National Assembly’s joint committee on Agriculture and Trade after he failed to show up on Monday.
But after delaying for hours, a letter from his ministry arrived requesting for more time.
The letter, dated June 26, 2018 and delivered through the Clerk of National Assembly, was signed by his principal secretary Karanja Kibicho.
Mr Kibicho asked the MPs to reschedule Dr Matiang’i’s appearance, saying his boss is involved in President Kenyatta’s meeting with East African Community heads of state.
Mr Kenyatta is hosting Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Paul Kagame (Rwanda) as well as a Special Envoy of President Salva Kiir of South Sudan for the 14th Summit of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.
Established in 2013, NCIP is a multilateral development initiative aimed at speeding up development in the region, particularly the improvement of infrastructure for ease of movement of people, goods and services in the region.
During the Nairobi meeting, the leaders are expected to review the progress made in the implementation of the various resolutions reached at during the 13th Summit held in Kampala, Uganda on April 23, 2016.
High profile official
Dr Matiang'i was the first high-profile government official to announce the presence in the country of sugar laced with mercury and copper about two weeks ago.
His colleagues, Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture), Henry Rotich (Treasury) and Adan Mohamed (Trade) had a session with the committees on Monday.
During the Monday session, it emerged that it is the National Treasury that opened floodgates of contraband sugar.
The letter and Dr Matiang’i’s no-show angered MPs, some of whom accused him of lacking of respect for parliamentary committees.
Some said the fact that the letter was dates June 26, the same day he was set to appear, showed that the CS lacked courtesy for them and wanted to waste their time.
Some members, such as Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, asked the chairman, Kanini Kega (Kieni), to summon the CS, saying Dr Matiang'i was looking down upon parliament.
The committee later deliberated the issue and agreed to give Dr Matiang'i his last chance.
Mr Kega directed that the CS appear before the joint committee on Thursday at 8.30am, failure to which he will be summoned.
This article was originally published on the Daily Nation website.