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Kenyan MP denies giving colleagues $100 to reject sugar report

Monday August 13, 2018

Wajir woman representative Fatuma Gedi addresses the press at Parliament buildings on August 13, 2018. /JACK OWUOR/ THE STAR

Wajir Woman Representative Fatuma Gedi has refuted claims by Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa that she bribed fellow legislators to reject the Joint House Committee Report on proliferation of contraband and harmful sugar into the country last Thursday.

Gedi told a news conference at Parliament Buildings that she and other right-thinking MPs only mobilised their colleagues to reject the report.

Barasa is quoted telling various news outlets that Gedi was on Thursday among a section of MPs lobbying and bribing their colleagues with Sh10,000 ($100) which the Wajir Woman Rep says his demeaning legislators.

“How can I bribe an Honourable Member with Sh10,000… honestly, what is Sh10,000?”

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“Sh10,000 cannot even buy lunch for an Honourable MP and I want to challenge the Honourable Didmus Barasa, if I indeed bribed him or I bribed in that matter 349 MPs, whose interests was I working for? Nobody has sent me, nobody gave me money to go and bribe any Honourable MP,” she said.

The first-time MP has now written to the Speaker of the National Assembly demanding that the Barasa apologise to her and substantiate his allegations.

“I want to challenge him to substantiate his allegation and bring evidence because I am going to take this matter far. I also welcome the Speaker’s decision to invite the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) because I want this matter to end. But for Didmus Barasa, Mheshimiwa, if what you are saying is true, can I really bribe the Majority Leader and Minority Leader with Sh10,000?”

The MP further stated that she last saw her Kimilili counterpart in Parliament 10 days ago.

Gedi insisted that the report was shoddy and that’s why it was shot down.

“We saw the two co-chairs contradict themselves. We saw the members of the joint committee opposing their own report, which took them time and weeks to prepare.”

“What we saw in that House was the same Committee speaking in two different languages, so as a member – and more so a new member of this House- who would you believe? I read the report and what I did was good for this country and was good for the House. I actually restored the dignity of the House but I have never ever bribed a single Member,” she stressed during the news conference as she was repeated asked what her interest was in seeing the report flop.

Speaker Muturi on Sunday invited the EACC to investigate allegations that MPs received bribes of between Sh10,000 and Sh30,000 to reject the sugar report which had among others implicated Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich (National Treasury), Adan Mohamed (as the then Trade and Industrialization) and former Agriculture CS Willy Bett (currently the High Commissioner to India).

“I have instructed the Clerk of the National Assembly to immediately write to the members who have been quoted in sections of the media citing incidences of bribery within the Precincts of Parliament; inviting them to share their testimonies or any information that they may have with the Powers and Privileges Committee,” said Muturi.

“The Powers and Privileges Committee will upon evaluation of the testimonies may consider inviting the competent investigatory agencies, in particular the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) as provided for in the Leadership and Integrity Act to conclusively handle the investigations with the view to taking necessary action against any member found culpable of this grossly unethical conduct,” the Speaker said.

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