Sunday, May 17, 2009



Saturday, May 16 2009

Corrupt dealings involving Members of Parliament have taken root right inside the House. Our Parliamentary Editor talked to a number of sitting and former MPs who admitted that money was changing hands to influence outcome of some House business

Kenya’s Parliament is increasingly becoming a haven of corruption as more and more MPs fall into traps set by unscrupulous but influential political and financial kingpins, the Sunday Nation can reveal.

Multiple interviews with sitting and former House members found a growing trend where wealthy and influential politicians who find themselves on the receiving end generously offer handouts as they lobby MPs to vote in their favour.

A string of wealthy politicians and business magnates, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have perfected the art of bribing a section of MPs in the guise of lobbying them to debate or vote in a way that favours their interests.

The upshot is that crucial reports have been adopted or thrown out, motions passed or rejected, and certain clauses introduced or removed from Bills before the House based purely on these partisan interests.

The chairman of the parliamentary committee on Agriculture, Mr John Mututho, says that the integrity of some members is doubtful.

“There should be thorough investigations into the conduct of some MPs. Their body language consistently speaks volumes when they vote for or against certain sensitive issues,” the Naivasha MP said.

“The Speaker should do something about it,” he added, a day after MPs threw out a report on the maize scandal by his committee on grounds that it was politically engineered and absolutely clumsy.

In spite of his protestations, it is difficult to legally pin down any of the bribe takers since the transactions are often done discreetly and disguised as contributions for projects or fundraisers.

Assistant minister Mwangi Kiunjuri talks of existence of an extortionist ring in the corridors of Parliament that targets vulnerable ministers who may be riding rough waters politically.

“There are six very well-known mercenaries. They demand protection fees to support or defend a minister facing a no confidence motion. They will defend you irrespective of your political affiliation,” says the Laikipia East MP.

Debt-ridden MPs in particular have become vulnerable and cheap guns for hire. In addition, pressure from constituents demanding cash handouts and other forms of assistance have pushed some MPs into what has become a quick source of slush funds.

It is said that a few of the MPs could even be asking for cash in exchange for raising certain questions in Parliament.

Interviews revealed that censure motions, controversial government bills and the adoption of key committee reports as the most lucrative.

An MP from the Rift Valley in the last Parliament is said to have bribed colleagues for up to Sh100,000 each to be elected chair of a departmental committee.

The MP had interest in businesses that were under investigations by the committee.

Mr Kiunjuri said: “It is true that MPs receive money to vote for or against controversial issues. The most unfortunate thing is that an MP earning Sh800,000 is given only Sh100,000 to compromise his or her conscience,” he added.

“If you monitor their behaviour when they are voting on controversial issues in the House, you can tell that they are not doing so with their conscience. Even their eyes betray them.”

MPs are also bribed with promises of development projects in their constituencies, supply contracts for their businesses or jobs for their relatives.
Some MPs actually confess about these promises to colleagues. It is common knowledge,” Mr Kiunjuri said.

An MP who spoke to the Sunday Nation on condition he not be identified said that members are normally paid between Sh50,000 and Sh200,000, depending on the weight of the issue at hand.

Motions of no-confidence are said to be the most lucrative. “When the stakes are high, politicians set aside serious money. People cannot support you for nothing,” says the MP.

On the converse, political rivals of those with problems can marshal support against them.

However, not every MP is targeted for a bribe, and the lobbyists have to tread carefully.

“You have to pick up a pen and paper and draw up a list to make sure you have the majority, while avoiding people who may not play ball,” the MP said.

But ODM parliamentary group secretary Ababu Namwamba dismissed claims that MPs are being bought to support of reject sensitive motions.

“I don’t understand why people have this imagination that MPs are desperate as to sell their souls. They are not paupers.”

The Budalangi MP said that most members were professionals who make extra income from their trade.

“Painting MPs as paupers is creating the wrong impression because most of them were well-endowed even before they were elected to Parliament,” he explained.

He reckons that “if there are any rotten apples, they are very few”.

Though he could not pinpoint any specific cases of bribery, Kimilili MP Eseli Simiyu said such allegations are given credence by the inconsistency among some MPs.

“There is a possibility because some MPs are fairly inconsistent on issues. The fact that they keep changing positions raises questions,” said the Ford-Kenya lawmaker.

The 10th Parliament has been a platform for motions of censure and has handled emotive and controversial issues touching on the never-ending maize scandal, the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel, legislation on the proposed Special Tribunal to try post-election violence perpetrators and selection of members of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission, among others.

Investigations by the Sunday Nation revealed that a group of MPs attempted to make a kill out of the recent standoff over who between Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Prime Minister Raila Odinga should lead government business in Parliament and chair the House Business Committee.

“Had I been given just Sh2 million, I would have lobbied MPs the whole night ...” said a backbencher.

Perhaps as a pointer to the self-enrichment schemes in Parliament, Regional Development minister Fred Gumo recently questioned the sources of “sudden wealth” displayed by some youthful MPs.

And minister William ole Ntimama once quipped that some MPs came to Parliament wearing “twisted” shoes only to become overnight millionaires wearing designer shoes and sharp Italian suits, thanks to questionable deals cut in Parliament.
An MP narrated how a colleague who joined Parliament driving a battered car today owns a fleet of luxury vehicles.

And the culture of corruption in Parliament did not start yesterday. Former Subukia MP Koigi wa Wamwere says the bribes, especially those aimed to buy support for government motions, are packaged as harambee money.

He recalls a case in which an agent of a minister who had a controversial Bill pending before Parliament gave him Sh40,000 saying the cash was meant for a project in his constituency.

However, he was to learn later from a person close to the minister that the money was an inducement for him to support the Bill that was facing rejection.

“I put the money in an envelope and returned it to the minister with a commitment that I will vote for the Bill because I believed in its contents,” says the former MP.

He also acknowledges that the bribe givers target certain MPs. “Money does change hands but they avoid people who are likely to turn it down.”

He says MPs are forced to make money through corruption to meet financial demands of their constituents.

“An MP becomes an ATM for the constituency where constituents come to draw money and if you don’t give them you become an enemy and may even lose your seat irrespective of your performance,” he says.

In the last Parliament, a key minister in President Kibaki’s Narc Administration was a point man for lobbying MPs and offering them cash handouts whenever there was an issue sensitive to the establishment, the Sunday Nation established from multiple interviews.

“That was kawaida. He could come to Parliament with sufficient money whenever there was an issue with government interest. He would then draw up a list of names of MPs he had seen to make sure he had the numbers,’’ says a former MP in the same Parliament.

Former nominated MP Mark Too, one of the most influential people at some point of the Moi regime, said contrary to many belief MPs were never given money to bring motions to Parliament or vote in certain ways at the time.

“What we used to do was a lot of lobbying and consultations on a friendly basis involving even the then Kanu radicals like Kipruto Kirwa, Kipkalya Kones, Jimmy Angwenyi and John Sambu. I also brought to our (government side) Liberal Democratic Movement and Ford-Kenya,” Mr Too said.

Denying that money exchanged hands to influence MPs, Mr Too asked: “How can you bribe somebody like Raila (Odinga)? I used my negotiating skills across the political divide to embrace radicals like James Orengo and Paul Muite,” he said.

Mr Too regretted “rampant” bribery of MPs today saying a number of them had used Constituency Development Fund money to buy vehicles for their own personal use and still claimed mileage allowance.

Financial commitments

“They want to live beyond their means yet their payslips always read zero after deductions due to many financial commitments,” he said.

The ill-gotten wealth finding its way into MPs’ pockets runs against the Public Officer Ethics Act that requires public officers to declare their wealth on appointment and twice a year thereafter.

The declaration, started six years ago, was intended to discourage public officials from using their positions to amass wealth.
owever, the wealth of senior government officials, public servants, and MPs has remained a closely guarded secret, as their forms are not available for public scrutiny.

President Kibaki is on record appealing for the wealth declarations to be made public and has also asked Parliament to amend the Act.

National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende said last week that he has reminded MPs twice to declare their wealth but the response has been poor.

“There is need for all public servants to be sensitised on the issue if improvement on wealth declaration is to be achieved this year,” said Mr Marende.

According to the law, an officer who fails to submit clear declarations on the status of his wealth is guilty of an offence punishable by a fine not exceeding Sh1 million or a year’s jail term, or both.



Submitted by yesuwangu
Posted May 17, 2009 04:04 PM

Speaker must push for a parliamentary laws and Rules with a parliamentary Judge to implement the rules within parliament.This will help to maintain law and order.Bribery,corruption,attendance,order,fighting,dirty words should all be dealt with within parliament by a set up administration

Submitted by mukirijohn
Posted May 17, 2009 03:57 PM

My fellow Kenyans will be disappointed when these constitution reforms are enacted by the current crop of parliamentarians. They will fix what fits them. The only way to stop the party is by contracting the HIT MAN!!! At the top of the list should be Attorney General for ill advising the Govt. Second should be Chief Justice Failing to protect the Public then the House Speaker being soft on these thugs then any other fellow directly or indirectly mentioned in connection with stealing from public resources... but until that happens am afraid the party is bound to continue.. regardless!!


Submitted by kibash
Posted May 17, 2009 02:56 PM

Even with my pedestrian understanding of goings-on in politics as perfectly sieved, analysed and synthesised for me by our media, I could tell, without any investigations whatsoever, that there cannot be voting by conscience when we see outrageous outcomes of debates in that parliament. I am disappointed if this story is a headliner. And, next on investigation should be stories for cash, and the extent to which this contributed or is contributing to continued hatred among people(s). Worth the fame, try this.


Submitted by Kibutu Kiiru
Posted May 17, 2009 02:08 PM

Kenya with proper harnessing can have enough for all Kenyans but can never have enough for one insatiable MP. This greed erodes creativity leaving the professionals in men dead.


Submitted by mpisha
Posted May 17, 2009 02:08 PM

We wont believe a dime of this if you don't give names! Who is Mututho,Kiunjuri,are they claiming to be parliamentary saints! Name them!


Submitted by mboks
Posted May 17, 2009 01:48 PM

What a ship Kenya has become.Some MPs have even become langas in parliament.No wonder we are being called names by our neighbours who were once in awe of us.Anyway all these people and their respectful crimes should be published before election day so they don get back in again.But then again the last lot was mostly thrown out and a new bunch of thugs ushered in. Wuololo!


Submitted by mzeemoja
Posted May 17, 2009 12:58 PM

Hon Ababu and others deny the obvious, while Hon Kiunjuri is in agreement. The SN has been vindicated, the latter has been there longer than most and he knows the ropes.


Submitted by oevanz
Posted May 17, 2009 11:08 AM

Mr. Marende should declare the seat of Mututho vacant because he cant pretend to talk about the truth after he has failed.This is crevice siasa.Let him tell his constituents about the bribery.If he is genuine,he could have told us before the 100k bribe was disbursed. HON. MUTUTHO SHOULD RESIGN FROM THE CORRUPT PARLIAMENT.Evans Onyango from Greece.


Submitted by Frededdy
Posted May 17, 2009 09:55 AM

Money guzzlers driving fuel guzzlers! Nowonder winning a parliamentary seat is hard. There's a Kesh 0.8m salary plus. I thought only the grand regency that was sold secretly but the whole Kenya and its citizens are being sold each day in parliament. Phew!,these scandals.


Submitted by mulosh
Posted May 17, 2009 08:32 AM

Ababu, it is difficult to imagine you are not one of them.

Submitted by karabu
Posted May 17, 2009 07:50 AM

If I steal a chicken, I break the Kenyan law and get arrested. Wealth declaration is also part of our laws. Why are MPs not arrested for breaking that law? Does it mean Kenyans can choose which laws to obey? The fact that leaders can be involved in corruption and with no effect on their careers is what continues to perpetrate the vice. Lets enact all non-controversial parts of the draft constitution to introduce vetting, banning corrupt leaders etc. Else poverty will haunt us for ever.


Submitted by yunisaa
Posted May 17, 2009 05:12 AM

Good reporting.....but what legal reasons make you not to name names? if all this is true, then spill the beans and whoever sues you, then you have proof of your reporting......otherwise shut up and do not create enmity among Kenyans. And President ASKING for wealth declaration? what a poor legal system where law is not a big deal and govt BEGS rather than implement. Ali Yonis GRUSA

Submitted by Hillaryio
Posted May 17, 2009 04:17 AM

And how is this news? That is the kind of daylight robbery police should be looking for in the streets of Nairobi!!

Submitted by onewordnep
Posted May 17, 2009 03:14 AM

Heko MPs! We elected you coz you were the highest bidder. You paid us well. Make an effort to get back your campaign money. In that regard, the higher the position, the larger the scandal. I now allow the fleet of PMs and VPs to start selling KENYAN live-live....Sell Kenyans to other countries, EAT THEM!Coz you want to!Ooooooo!

Submitted by momaxm
Posted May 17, 2009 03:01 AM

Then again going by the recent revelations about how British MPs defraud their tax payers, it's not hard to see that our MPs are but a chip off the the old colonial block! Politicians, the world over are but a bunch of greedy lots destined for the purest of hells!

Submitted by mwanakhamuna
Posted May 17, 2009 02:50 AM

And how is this news? Tell me something I dont know!

Submitted by bobcat
Posted May 17, 2009 01:33 AM

So now we know why the no confidence motions come if even minister forgot to pay for tea in the canteen.And yet they said their salaries shld be increased so that Moi couldn't bribe them, scumbags

Submitted by wakandoma
Posted May 17, 2009 12:26 AM

As much as i respect the role of the media in any democracy and the power of its watchdog role. this article bares nothing close to investigative journalism. All i read in this article was inuendo and hearsay. where are the facts? what are your comments based on? what legal reasons prevent you from mentioning the alleged culprits?

Submitted by ananua
Posted May 16, 2009 11:52 PM
God help Kenya


Submitted by suekimj
Posted May 16, 2009 11:33 PM

Point of correction MPs. Constituents have not turned you into ATMs you are using that as a bait to keep them close to yourselves for future votes. Develop your areas and let these people fend for themselves. What are you doing with the CDF Kitty????

Submitted by wawerugithiri
Posted May 16, 2009 10:34 PM

I would be Advocating for a Coup, were it not Treasonable. How will the common person come out of eternal slavery under such leadership? How can less than 10,000 hawks hold over 30 million Kenyans hostage?

Submitted by kiambidm
Posted May 16, 2009 10:26 PM

Shame shame shame, Lord have mercy on this country.

Submitted by cashD
Posted May 16, 2009 10:14 PM

Why should MPs be different from the rest of Kenya's corrupt elite class? Aren't they the same MPs who year in and year out vote themselves increased wages and allowances? Why should they care about what happens to the country?