Ngilu seeks Cord help to fight censure motion
Under intense fire from Members of Parliament, including some from her Jubilee side, Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu yesterday was reported to have sought help from unlikely quarters among Cord MPs. Sources told The People that as it became apparent some Jubilee MPs formed the ranks of those who want her kicked out of her docket, Ngilu yesterday frantically assembled support from MPs in the Cord side to support her when a motion to censure her was brought in the House.
Before the debate kicked off in the afternoon, some Cord MPs from Ukambani and two of their ODM counterparts from Nyanza were reported to have met the Minister at a city hotel where they held a closed door session. Sources said Ngilu met the first smaller group at a hotel at Upperhill over the lunch hour and later a larger group at a hotel on the CDB periphery.
It as not clear what discussions took place, but when debate came up after a report against her was tabled by the committee on delegated legislation, one of the MPs who vehemently argued on her side was a Cord member who was reported to have been in the meeting. And last night, after debate in the House was postponed to this motion, Ngilu met another group of about 15 MPs at a hotel near the Museum roundabout. In parliament, it was an interesting turn of events as Mbooni Member of Parliament Kisoi Munyao turned on against Jubilee MP, Kirinyaga Central’s Joseph Gitari as being among those poised to fight Ngilu.
Munyao charged that Gitari was an interested party in Ngilu’s ouster, having himself benefited from proceeds of the Lapset project in Lamu. Debate on the report against Ngilu kicked off on a stormy note as Munyao claimed one of the petitioners, Gitari, had an interest in the matter and attempted to link him to alleged schemes to kick Ngilu out of office, citing land dealings by cartels in Lamu. Munyao wanted Gitari to disclose his interest in the matter and why he failed to tell the same to the members of the joint committee investigating the allegations against Ngilu.
The legislator told the House that companies associated with Gitari were part of those involved in the Sh225 million project to demarcate land for Lapset in Lamu. He said he had in his possession a letter on the release of the money by the then permanent secre- tary for Lands, Dorothy Angote. But, put to task by Speaker Justin Muturi to substantiate the claims, Munyao tabled names of companies alleg- edly associated with Gitari.
It was at this juncture that Gitari rose to protest his innocence and demanded that his colleague withdraws the claims. Munyao went ahead to table the names of several companies, First Link Limited, Kintona Merchants, Compu- net Systems as some of those associ- ated with Gitari and that allegedly participated in the Lapset project. Muturi, however, dismissed the documents as not authentic since they were not certified as required by Standing Orders.
Munyao was subsequently asked to withdraw and apologise to Gitari unconditionally, which he did, but insisted that given time he would bring certified copies today. “If you are not able to do so now, withdraw and apologise to the member, these are serious allegations which must be proven if you are to get away with it,” said Muturi.
Later, joint delegated legislation committee chairman William Cheptumo table the report outlining how Ngilu had breached the constitution in creating the position of the Registrar of Lands and transfer of three other top officials in her ministry. Cheptumo said a gazette notice published by Ngilu was illegal and unconstitutional. She went ahead to revoke the notice after realising that her actions were illegal, he added. The committee recommends that the transfers made by Ngilu be revoked and the officers involved be reinstated.
“It is the observations of the committee that the Cabinet Secretary acted in breach of the constitution in creating new offices and revoking the positions of top officials in the ministry,” the report stated. The committee ruled that the recent transfers, promotions and gazettement at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development were irregular, a nullity and devoid of merit and were not backed by law.
Cheptumo told the House that Ngilu purported to appoint officers to positions, and went ahead to gazette an appointment, in blatant disregard of the Constitution and the Lands and the National Land Commission Act. The Cabinet Secretary, the report states, was also not forthright before the committee as she purported to draw her powers to appoint a Director General of Lands from the draft prepared by the Director of Public Service Commission.
On the removal of the Commissioner of Lands, Zablon Mabea, the committee took exception to the explanation by Ngilu that she had taken the step since he was unable to sign grants and leases owing to unstated health grounds. But, in its observations, the commit- tee noted the accumulation of leases was caused by a seven month delay in coming into force of the Constitution and the moratorium placed on signing any leases.
The committee noted that legal advice sought established that Mabea would continue signing the leases under the transitional clauses. “In the absence of constitutional, legal, administrative and procedural backing for the transfers and the appointments, the committee recommends that the officers who had been irregularly removed from office be reinstated and the purported transfers be revoked,” the Committee recommended in its report. Cheptumo was seconded by Moses ole Sakuda (Kajiado North) and John Mbadi (Gwasi), with the latter saying that the report of the Committee to reinstate the transferred officials to their former positions should be used as a warning Debate on the report continues today. – By ANTHONY MWANGI