Senator Kajwang’ in Hot Soup for Soliciting Bribes from Governors

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Senators Moses Kajwang' and Millicent Omanga at a past inquiry meeting.

Homa Bay county senator Moses Kajwang’ is in hot soup after his public accounts and investment committee was badly exposed for soliciting bribes from governors.

Those close to senator Kajwang’, the Senate’s County Public Accounts and Investments Committee (CPAIC) chairman, will tell you that the man who used to be terribly broke is now living beyond his means. Members of his staff often give their testimonies that the ‘TV Senator’ as his electorates refer to him back at the county, used to rely only on his salary and allowances, he had no known businesses nor avenues for making money till the PAC chairmanship happened in the senate.

In Kenya it is easier to tell if a politician is having monies whose sources are questionable since they’ll start giving unreasonable amounts for handouts, attend many harambees, have bigger ambitions like running for bigger seats, and change wardrobe. This is the typical lifestyle of Senator Moses Kajwang’.

“Of late the boss(Kajwang’) is very generous” one of his staffers was heard saying.

How it all began

Mid last month National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale accused the CPAIC members of soliciting bribes from governors to give audit queries raised by the auditor general clean bill of health. He boldly stated that the senators in the PAC have been working in cahoots with governors saying, the Kajwang’-led CPAIC has never produced a report indicting any governor since the House started its sitting in the 12th Parliament while their counterparts at the national assembly have done much.

“The Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly has indicted ministers, their principal secretaries and parastatal chiefs. Why is it that CPAIC is yet to nail anyone?” he paused.

These are the same sentiments from his colleagues in the Senate leadership. Deputy Senate speaker Kithure Kindiki, Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Minority leader James Orengo are pointing accusing fingers to the Kajwang’-led committee saying they are soliciting bribes from the governors.

They are also deeply concerned that the members of the committee are being too cosy and dramatic with governors who appear before them.

Angry Murkomen almost spilled beans during a recent interview where he said,

“Even though the committee are active every day – and I can say this from the leadership perspective – many of the members of this House still feel that their performance is below par. There are no reports tabled yet, indicting any governor on grounds of corruption, “which are so glaring””

Chinua Achebe wrote in one of his books that, “When alligator comes out of the water one morning and tells you that crocodile is sick, do you doubt his story?”

You can choose who to doubt on this bribery allegations but not Majority leaders Aden Duale, Kipchumba Murkomen and minority leader James Orengo.

At the time these committees were being formed, some of these leaders like Kajwang’ fought and lobbied heavily, one would think that they were fighting for a life support machine, only to realize it was all about bribes.

Edward Ouko the outgoing Auditor General kept on revealing the massive theft of public resources at the counties; the unexplained and unsupported expenditures in the county that runs into billions. However, instead of this oversight committee looking into these reports and demanding answers, they demand for bribes.

Over the week, a governor whom they recently harassed at the committee revealed that he was asked upto sh100 million in the name of managing governors, “The senator came to me and told me that he had been sent by the committee to ask for Sh100 million. I refused. Why should I give them all that money yet they were questioning me for the use of public cash?” the governor said.

Another one also revealed to the media that, “At times, they ask for Sh2 million each. A minimum of Sh20 million per governor. I have heard some governors have paid close to Sh40 million to the committee,” the governor said.

The no longer hungry Kajwang’ has dismissed the claims saying he will not engage in speculation and discussing accusations from faceless people.

Adding that, “If they believe in integrity, they should come to Parliament and spell out who, where and when those things happened,” he said

Kajwang’ is serving his third term as Chair of Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee. Though he had promised to do more county visits, focus on value for money, deal more with performance audits and push for prosecution of suspected thieves in counties but he is actually doing the opposite if these corruption allegations are anything to go by.

Some of the committee members include Inua Mama sponsor Millicent Omanga.

The committee is yet to clear their name from bribery claims by Nairobi businessman Francis Mburu who said one of their members solicited Sh100 million from him during investigations into the Ruaraka school land.

Indeed bribe is like pregnancy, you cannot hide it forever.

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