Kenya - MPs’ ability to play watchdog role undermined by corruption allegations

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The ability of MPs to conduct their oversight role over government has been drastically diminished following recent claims of extortion and bribery in House committees.

The Public Accounts Committee is not the first. Over the last one year, a number of other committees have been accused of being on the take.

The claims will affect the credibility of investigations by the Agriculture Committee, Public Investment Committee and others into governance issues.

In the past, persons and institutions under investigation have claimed that MPs demanded bribes with threats of bad reports if they did not play along.

In the 10th Parliament in 2012, members of the Committee on Health almost came to blows over findings and recommendations of a final report.

Their investigation into alleged corruption and mismanagement of a civil servants’ medical cover scheme ended on a fiery note with chairperson Robert Monda receiving death threats after he tabled the final report in Parliament.

At the end of it all, Dr Monda was left standing alone to present the report that faulted the health scheme amid jeers as members of his committee disowned its contents.

In the current Parliament, the Agriculture Committee is also on spot over its investigation into the sugar sector where it is alleged that money changed hands.

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The Sunday Nation has also learnt that there has been an attempt by some members to reopen investigations that were concluded by their predecessors.

Some of the involved people claimed members of the committee demanded cash, threatening a fresh investigation if they did not pay up.

SOURCE: Daily Nation, March 14th, 2015, http://mobile.nation.co.ke/news/MPs-Parliament-Corruption-PAC/-/1950946/...