Four MPs named over drugs probe

Internal Security minister George Saitoti has sensationally named four MPs in Parliament as suspected drug traffickers.

Prof Saitoti said the police are investigating Makadara MP Gidion Mbuvi, William Kabogo (Juja), Hassan Joho (Kisauni) and Harun Mwau (Kilome) in connection with alleged involvement in the illicit drug trade.

He also indicated that businessman Ali Punjani was also being probed.

Their names are among those contained in a dossier from the American Embassy to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission a month ago, it was revealed.

And Mr Kabogo tabled other documents before the House claiming they contained names of suspects which include Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa, Kamkunji MP Simon Mbugua and a wife to "very senior person in the country".

Mr Kabogo was categorical that the list he tabled was from the American Embassy.

He pointed out that they are the same documents that Prime Minister Raila Odinga had confirmed he was in possession.

But House Speaker Kenneth Marende ruled that the dossier would not be accessible to MPs until Thursday afternoon when he rules on whether to admit the documents.

Prof Saitoti could not confirm their names saying he had not gone through the document carefully, stating that the only names he had confirmed as being under investigation were the four.

"I have asked the police to give me information on the MPs they are investigating and together with Kacc, these are the only four who have been brought to my attention,” the Minister said.

He said he received the report two days ago. “As far as Hon Kabogo’s dossier is concerned, I have to go through it and do some cross checking, Mr Speaker I will not shy from saying the truth,” he said.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he received the documents formally from the US Ambassador, but resisted the temptation to name the members and left it to be dealt with competent authorities.

He said he had set up a taskforce to deal with matter and investigations were ongoing, indicating it would take slightly longer, probably two months time as they would involve cross border investigations.

However, MPs demanded that the House be told the nature of the taskforce and that the PM gives a timeline on the investigations.

Lands Minister James Orengo said there must a time frame to conclude the investigations, saying the matter was very serious especially where more than six MPs had been mentioned in connection with the grave issue of drug trafficking.

“It is also good for us to know so that we are not held as accomplices when relating with the MPs,” he said.

The MPs in the list defended themselves with Mr Kabogo and Mr Joho insisting that those who had mentioned them should also be investigated for "peddling falsehoods". They said they welcomed thorough investigations.

Mr Joho demanded unsuccessfully that his name be expunged from the list until investigations are concluded, stating that it was scandalous and meant "to kill others politically".

He demanded that the minister undertakes that if he is found innocent , those who named be made to face the full force of the law.

The MP said he has never dealt in drug trafficking.

Mr Wamalwa who said he had been informed that he was mentioned for helping to waive duty of Sh2 million expressed shock that his name was there.

“I thought my ears were not hearing right,” said the Saboti MP. He asked that he be allowed to peruse the document and give a personal statement at the next sitting, but the Speaker ruled him out saying he could only do so after his ruling.

There has been a consistent demand by MPs who wanted to know who were mentioned in the list.

Although mentioned on the list, Prof Saitoti said they were innocent until proven guilty, promising that the law would take its course.

The minister said there was a combined team of authorities that was handling the cases. “We will do the best we can to ensure the issue is addressed accordingly because it has damaged the reputation of this country,” he said.

He promised to push for speedy investigations in the matter within the next one month. However he indicated that he had no power on Kacc’s and how it works.

Prof Saitoti informed the House that Mr Kabogo had written to him a very lengthy letter complaining about his being mentioned and asking for thorough investigations.

Mr Mbuvi described the report implicating him "as full of false allegations".

It all started after Prof Saitoti issued a statement on Tuesday’s incident whereby Mr Mbuvi complained that three senior police officers had forcefully accessed his parliamentary office at Continental House.

The minister indicated to the House that the officers were investigating whether Mr Mbuvi was linked to drug trafficking and that the member had invited them to his office, a statement the MP denied.

Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo then asked the Minister to confirm that he had a received the report from the American Embassy, further demanding that the minister names the MPs named to avoid blanket condemnation of MPs.

“Now that Mbuvi has been identified as one of the six, who are these others and can they be named now,” the MP demanded.

Mr Kabogo named his two colleagues after Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo insisted that he substantiate his allegations that other MPs and a "wife to a very senior person" were also on the list of suspects.

Mr Mbugua took issue with Mr Kabogo’s list demanding that Prof Saitoti confirms whether he was among those being investigated.

The Minister then invited him to his office and assured him that he would not shy away from telling him the truth.

Concerning Mr Mbuvi’s incident at Parliament on Tuesday , Prof Saitoti said the senior police officers were from the team investigating drug trafficking and they had gone there to interrogate him following his invitation.

“According to information, he said he was going to be in Parliament and he said would be able to meet them. Indeed they are carrying out investigations and of course he is one of persons mentioned in connection with drug trafficking” the minister said.


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