Saturday, August 09, 2008


The saga over a parliamentary report on the conduct of former Finance Minister Amos Kimunya intensified, with members of a committee writing to the Speaker to protest over the conduct of his deputy.

Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim is now in a spot following his refusal to have the report, which indicts Kimunya, tabled in the House. The Finance, Planning and Trade Committee, which investigated the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel on behalf of Parliament, has now written a protest letter to Mr Kenneth Marende over the behaviour of Maalim.

Maalim blocked the committee Chairman Chris Okemo from tabling the report, saying procedure had been breached since the report had not been circulated to all members in the House. The committee met yesterday morning at Parliament buildings and expressed their disgust at the manner the Deputy Speaker had handled the matter.

Sources at the meeting told The Standard on Saturday that members were enraged with Maalim’s "unusual" behaviour, which they said was not informed by any Standing Order or any tradition and practice of the House.

The sources further said the refusal by Maalim to have the report tabled as per the ruling of the House Speaker two weeks ago "smacked of conspiracy" that does not augur well for Parliament, which is supposed to be independent.

"What our chairman did when he rose to table the report is that he was complying with a ruling of the Chair that the committee must do so yesterday (Thursday) failure to which we would have been in contempt of the House and the Chair," added a source who preferred anonymity.

The sources said they were stunned the same ruling by Maalim was never applied when the Committee on Administration, National Security and Local Authorities, chaired by Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi on Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang, tabled its report.

At the same time, the sources disclosed that the committee had decided to reopen investigations into the controversial sale of the hotel to interview two other witnesses who had appeared before the President-appointed Justice Cockar Commission that is also investigating the matter.

Sources privy to the report say the committee had recommended to President Kibaki that Kimunya was unfit to return to the Cabinet.