State didn’t pay MPs Sh400m bribe to pass Finance Bill, says Rigathi Gachagua

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua in Maragua where he presided over the Education Endowment Fund in Murang'a County on June  29, 2024.

Photo credit: DPPS

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has denied Juja MP George Koimburi's claims that State House paid Members of Parliament Sh2 million each to support the Finance Bill 2024.

"That MP is lying. President William Ruto and I did not give out the said Sh400 million dirty cash as claimed...we did not seek to corruptly influence any member to vote for the Bill," Mr Gachagua said as he addressed residents at Kenol town on Saturday, June 29, 2024.

Mr Koimburi had last Sunday, while attending church service at Ndururumo African Independent Pentecostal Churches of Africa, claimed that MPs pocketed the cash to support the Bill.

He said the 195 MPs in support had been handed the cash that had been transported to Parliament precincts. Mr Koimburi was among the 114 Members of Parliament who voted against the Bill.

"We were offered money... you saw how they carried money in sacks...We were told that for every yes vote, it receives a Sh2 million appreciation token," he said.

The DP said: “The MPs who voted in support of the Bill were exercising patriotism to help President Ruto fund his service delivery agenda, exercising collective responsibility as demanded by the ruling party's position".

Sh2 million

Mr Gachagua had attended a bursary fundraiser at Kaharati Primary School hosted by Maragua MP Mary wa Maua.

“Let us not castigate MPs on how they voted on this. Also, do not destroy their business or their homes. And I want to confirm today that as deputy president and as UDA deputy party leader, we did not give any money, let alone Sh2 million, to each MP to vote for the Bill. From where I sit, there was no such money,” Mr Gachagua said in Kaharati.

The Bill that has since been trashed by President William Ruto after it had been passed by 195 lawmakers, ignited youthful protests across the country.

Mr Gachagua observed that the claims have invited the public against their MPs to a point where some have been subjected to violence, body shaming and pure insults.

Mr Gachagua also called for restraint, urging Kenyans to respect leaders and stop jeering them in public forums as well as destroying their properties.

Appealing to the Gen-Z to stop the protests, the Deputy President asked them to stop believing they can be allowed to intimidate leaders at will, rather they avail their knowledge to be value added by experience to serve the country.

"To the Gen-Z protesters, we have listened and heard you. Our young children and teenagers know we have experience. We can combine the two for the good of our nation," he said.

Urging Mr Koimburi to emulate truthful men, he said: “It is sometimes good to speak truthfully and without was wrong to first accuse the president and me of a fictitious corruption plot and also setting up elected honourable members against the public".

 Ms Maua had said: "I have faced hostile crowds in my area of representation who believed Mr Koimburi's claims".

She said that "the more she thinks about the claims made by the Juja MP, the more she is convinced that he was most likely not his real self at the time he made the damning allegation".

She said the claims had led to her constituents demanding a cut, "arguing that since I am a product of their votes, they are entitled to a share of the bribe".

 "My husband has also asked me for a share of the money because he supports me financially, so he feels entitled to a share of the loot,” she added.

Apologise publicly

She said: "Mr Koimburi should apologise publicly or be tasked to name those he saw receive the cash".

Ms Maua said many of her Mt Kenya colleagues in the National Assembly had been subjected to unwarranted hostilities because of Koimburi's claims.

Kiambu Senator Karungo Thang'wa said: "I know the MP for Juja and he is my friend...I know his lifestyle and his love for money...I know that if there was such money to be given freely, he would not have refused his share".

He said: "I am pursuing him to ensure that he sees the sense in retracting his statement which he unfortunately made in a church of God".

Mr Koimburi told Nation.Africa on Saturday that "I will look at the speech I made and see if I said such a thing...we have incidents where things are reported out of context or come out vaguely to be manipulated to find a narrative of convenience".

He said he would soon clarify what he meant, "but in the meantime, let us help our President address the challenges we face as a country".

Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara, who accompanied the DP on the Murang'a tour, said "I have been personally briefed by close family members and friends about the serious allegations made by Koimburi".

She said: "My son is among those who have demanded an explanation from me as to whether I received the money...and you know when such allegations are made and you try to defend yourself, you look guilty as charged.

She urged Mr Koimburi to either clarify who was bribed or retract the statement and apologise.

"Let us give leaders the opportunity to serve us. There is no need to intimidate them, destroy their property or taunt them. There will be a right time to decide on whether to return them to office or not," said Mr Gachagua.