MPs plot to reject report on contraband sugar
4 months ago, 7 Aug 00:08
Members of Parliament and individuals said to wield power in Government and political circles have launched a campaign to have a report on contraband sugar rejected.
This comes as a meeting of the joint committee probing the matter that was scheduled for yesterday to discuss claims that the report had been doctored failed to take place.
The committee members had pushed for a meeting to be told who made changes to their original report.
A last-minute behind-the-scenes plot by powerful individuals and lawmakers intensified yesterday ahead of today’s debate on the document that was tabled last week.
The Standard has learnt of a plot to amend the report to include the name of another Cabinet Secretary to the list of those already implicated. According to sources, this is part of an elaborate scheme to complicate the saga and occasion total rejection of the report.
It has also emerged that some of the companies cited were also pushing to have the report shot down to avoid tax claims running into billions of shillings.
An MP who sought anonymity said it was ridiculous that the committee did not indict any sugar barons.
“How do you indict two CSs but say nothing about sugar barons?” said the MP.
Yesterday, Kanini Kega (Kieni), co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Trade and Agriculture, said his team had finished its work and that it was now up to the House to decide what to do with the 62-page document.
But Simba Arati (Dagoretti North), Justus Murungi (Matungu) and Cornelly Serem (Aldai) – all members of the committee – complained of interference aimed at defeating the report.
The team was also split over claims that the original copy was doctored in an attempt to protect two CSs.
Some committee members threatened to reject the document if it was not amended to include initial recommendations.
They claimed their original report recommended that a former Agriculture Cabinet secretary should be held responsible for the excess sugar imports, failure to guarantee safety and waiver of duty for 14 firms that imported after the duty-free window was closed.
However, the document that was tabled recommended investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Directorate of Criminal Investigations to establish the “circumstances” that led to the importation of alleged contraband sugar.
“There is huge interest in this report. We already know that there are plans to reject it in totality,” said Mr Arati.
Category: politics news