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Senate clears Matiang’i in Ruaraka land probe

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By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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By DAVID MWERE
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Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang got a reprieve yesterday after the Senate failed to adopt a report on the possible loss of Sh1.5 billion through acquisition of a controversial piece of land in Ruaraka.

However, after the vote, five senators claimed their colleagues had been influenced to defeat the report prepared by the County Public Accounts and Investments Committee.

Senators James Orengo (Siaya), Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay), Ledama ole Kina (Narok), Boniface Kabaka (Machakos) and Johnes Mwaruma (Taita-Taveta) termed the vote a setback in the fight against corruption.

The senators, who addressed journalists at Parliament Buildings, however said all is not lost and challenged the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Director of Public Prosecutions to take up the matter.

“I say this with a lot of sadness; despite the President’s war against corruption, when the time for voting came, only 15 senators voted in support of the motion to adopt the report. It is like the whole thing was planned. They are cowards. If you can’t vote in the Senate and take a stand you have no business being in Parliament,” Mr Orengo said.

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The motion required the support of 24 delegations or elected senators. Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja was the only Jubilee member who supported the motion.

Four other senators voted against, with two abstentions. This means that had all the senators in the House supported it, it would still have failed the threshold as only 21 members were in the House at the time of voting.

“Even some of the committee members who had signed in support of the report were not in the House to prove their mettle,” said Mr Orengo.

Mr Kajwang’ said the intention to have the motion defeated started when the Speaker ruled that voting shall be done through delegation as it affects counties and not like an ordinary bill. “We can’t speak about corruption then retreat when members from our political divide are mentioned,” he said.

Mr Kabaka and Mr Kina claimed some of their colleagues had been influenced to defeat the motion.

“I thought the Senate was clean but I have discovered that it is a den of corruption. I am ashamed to be a member of this House. There are mercenaries in the Senate,” said Mr Kabaka.

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