In Summary
  • Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi said the rejection of the report was a victory for cartels and a big blow to thousands of farmers.
  • Parliament rejected the report prepared by a joint committee ostensibly on the grounds that the team ignored its terms of reference.
  • Some of the sugar was suspected to have been toxic or unfit for human consumption as it was not fully processed.

Outrage greeted accusations that MPs had been paid to shoot down a report on imported sugar that cost Kenyans Sh10 billion in lost taxes and which exposed consumers to health hazards.

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi faulted the National Assembly, arguing that it had betrayed the trust that Kenyans had placed in their elected representatives.

“The National Assembly showed shameful display of complicity.

"Its action has emboldened sugar barons, aided evasion of tax and flies in the face of President [Uhuru] Kenyatta’s anti-corruption crusade. It has condemned cane farmers to servitude and killed the hope reviving local sugar industry,” Mr Mudavadi said.

Funyula MP Oundo Mudenyo, who was a member of the joint committee, also hit out at Parliament, saying that the committee had worked under intense pressure and tight deadlines to unmask those culpable, only for the report to be rejected even with amendments.

“MPs never bothered to read the report. They only checked the recommendations and when it touched the sacred cows, they decided to shoot it down,” he said in protest.

DEBATE

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi said the rejection of the report was a victory for cartels and a big blow to thousands of farmers who eke out a living through cane farming.

“The institution of Parliament that is supposed to protect the public has turned against them,” Mr Osotsi said.

Muhoroni MP James K’Oyoo accused the Speaker of gagging the debate, which he said negated the true intent of President Kenyatta to meet the sugar deficit in the country.

He warned that the outcome of the vote had opened a floodgate for unscrupulous dealers to bring sugar laced with poisons into the country.

“There were missing gaps in the report we wanted to remedy through the amendments. Now a good report has been trashed.

"MPs failed to exhibit patriotism and as a result the country has been left in a state of hopelessness,” Mr Koyoo lamented.

BRIBERY

The multimillion bribery scheme involving members of Parliament to influence the outcome of the report in which Kenya lost more than Sh10 billion in taxes has come to light.

Parliament rejected the report prepared by a joint committee ostensibly on the grounds that the team ignored its terms of reference and did not take into consideration witness statements.

The Saturday Nation can authoritatively reveal that millions of shillings changed hands as shadowy figures sought to influence the debate so that some top government officials implicated by the report could be let off the hook.

On Thursday morning the Saturday Nation team saw wards of crisp Sh1,000 notes stashed in a blue envelope, which one MP confided contained Sh30,000.

The money had been sent through an emissary by a government official.

He said other people unhappy with the report might have sent their own emissaries.

UNSAFE

Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi said that the money was being shared in Parliament from Wednesday evening with the sole aim of ensuring that MPs shot down the sugar report.

He did not say who was dishing out the money. “My conscience could not allow me to take the money,” Mr Atandi said.

The committee had investigated the circumstances under which the government allowed uncontrolled importation of sugar in 2017 during a duty-free window opened by the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

Some of the sugar was suspected to have been toxic or unfit for human consumption as it was not fully processed.

The latest report said three Cabinet secretaries should take responsibility for flooding of the market with the bad or duty-free sugar.

Witnesses who saw money changing hands in Parliament said that at one moment Kimilili MP Didmas Barasa confronted a woman representative from North Eastern who offered him Sh10,000 to vote against the report.

SHAME

Yesterday, the MP confirmed that the woman rep (name withheld for legal reasons) had tried to bribe him to vote against the report.

“I was in the company of Sirisia MP John Waluke when she gave me a blue envelope with Sh10,000. I rejected it,” he said.

Matungu MP Makokha Murunga corroborated the claims.

“MPs were compromised. What happened along the corridors of Parliament is shameful.

"I am not afraid to say that the report was rejected on the basis of corruption. It is sad and shameful that some MPs received as little as Sh10, 000 to shoot down the report,” Mr Murunga said.

MPs earn upwards of Sh1 million in salaries and allowances.

Besides the woman rep, four other MPs — all of them from the Rift Valley — were at the centre of mobilising other legislators to receive the suspect handouts.

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