In Summary
  • Mr Mbadi said although he has problems with Mr Rotich's performance, he is "clean" on the sugar scandal.
  • The joint committee on Trade and Agriculture co-chairperson Kanini Kega said the report is credible.
  • Some MPs interpreted the rejection as a win for sugar cartels while questioning how the debate was conducted.

The National Assembly Thursday shot down a committee report on the contraband sugar in a move that will severely dent the government’s efforts to fight sugar smuggling in the country.

The rejection of the report now leaves Kenyans with an expenditure of over Sh10 million gone to waste. The amount was paid to the 38 members of the joint committee in sitting allowances as they conducted the investigations.

The amount does not, however, include transport, accommodation, and meals incurred by the members during their field visits to Mombasa, Bungoma and Nairobi.

LOBBYING

It also does not include what was paid to the parliamentary staff — the committee clerks, sergeant-at-arms, personal assistants and their security details — who provided support services.

According to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission rates of 2017, after taxation, committee chairmen are paid a Sh12,000 sitting allowance, vice chairpersons earn Sh7,000, while ordinary members take home Sh5,000.

The House was unusually full and members of parliament keen to contribute to the report of the joint committee. According to some members, there was intense lobbying to discredit the report, which would have dealt a blow to the careers of some public officials.

REJECTED

With the rejection, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, his EAC counterpart Adan Mohamed and former Agriculture CS Willy Bett can now heave a sigh of relief as the report had recommended they be held accountable for the presence of the sugar in the country.

A proposal by Nakuru Town member David Gikaria to form a special task force to review and improve the report so that it could be adopted and acted upon was flatly rejected. This means Parliament can only address the problem by appointing another committee that would have to start from scratch.

FLOODGATES

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga’s proposal to hold Mr Rotich and Mr Bett personally liable for the flooding of the market with bad sugar was shot down despite the support of Jubilee majority whip in the National Assembly, Benjamin Washiali.

Mr Washiali said Mr Rotich had been warned that opening the floodgates for duty-free sugar would affect over 300,000 farmers, mostly in Nyanza, western and coastal regions.

“I want my fellow members to sympathise with those of us who represent sugarcane growers. Mr Rotich was well advised on March 18, 2015 that the gazette notice he was planning to issue was going to affect sugarcane farmers in the country,” Mr Washiali said.

SH10.6 BILLION

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