Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Keter fights for political life as summons issued

ALFRED KETERNandi Hills MP Alfred Keter was Monday a beleaguered man as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) confirmed it had issued summons against him for allegedly threatening law enforcement officers.

Mr Keter is in trouble over a video showing the MP and URP nominated member Sonia Birdi intimidating and harassing officials at the Gilgil weighbridge to get them to release an impounded truck.

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The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) also directed the embattled MP and Ms Birdi to present themselves to Gilgil police where the incident took place.

DCI Director Ndegwa Muhoro said they had advised the two legislators to face the officers there because that was where the offences under investigations were committed.

“They have been advised accordingly to go to the place and record their statements as we continue investigating,” said Mr Muhoro.

EACC spokesman Yassin Amaro said they sent their summons to the two MPs Monday afternoon.

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“We hope to see them at our offices tomorrow (Tuesday). We have various issues on integrity that they need to answer regarding the incident in Gilgil,” said Mr Amaro.

But even as the summons were issued, Keter adopted a defiant tone, telling the Press at Parliament Buildings that he would not apologise for his remarks that attracted heated debate on social and mainstream media.

“Why should I apologise to criminals?” the MP posed, even as he claimed the video that captured him hurling insults at officers manning the weighbridge was “doctored”.

Keter claimed the person who had recorded the video had careful edited the clips to portray him negatively.

“It was a two-hour exchange, with some exchanges showing me complaining about corruption at the weighbridge. The public has only been treated to six minutes of the video. I had to overreact. It was not a wedding ceremony for me to go and smile. As Keter, whenever I see corruption, I must become emotional, unless a doctor is found for my condition,” said the MP even as he declined to take questions from journalists.

Way forward

The two MPs visited the DCI headquarters on Sunday but were told they would be informed on the way forward.

Detectives from EACC visited the Gilgil weighbridge on Sunday and took statements from Kenya National Highway Authority, police and SGR officers as part of their investigations into the incident.

While confronting the officials, the two MPs claimed State House Comptroller Lawrence Lenayapa, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Osman Warfa and chairman of the National Committee on Security in the National Assembly Asman Kamama as well as top police officers had called demanding the release of the lorry, but the officials there allegedly refused to respond.

Mr Lenayapa however denied calling the police or customs officials to demand the vehicle’s release.

“If I called an OCPD or customs official there, let them come forward and say so. I can’t do that. I have also complained to the police and anti-corruption officers over this matter and I hope action will be taken,” said Lenayapa.

“The situation escalated for sure, but the person who took the video must be investigated. We have something called M-Pesa,” said Birdi without elaborating.

Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale also reacted to the incident, saying the Jubilee administration does not condone corruption, coercion or intimidation in the name of State House or the President.

“We want the relevant institutions to take action against any misconduct involving any of our members,” he said.

Keter, however, insisted that his tirade was part of his bid to help the Government fight corruption.

“We are part of Jubilee and we want to support the Government. The only way to ensure this is to help in the fight against corruption,” he said.

In the video, Keter demands to know whose interests the weighbridge officials are serving.

“Tell me, who is the owner of that company? Go away; are they Ugandans sub-contracting? For whose interests? We are the ones who legislate. We make laws for this country. No way. Okay, listen. We will reverse the law, but we have to sack the people and we have to reverse the law.”

He continues: “It is so mad imagine, State House Comptroller, that is the President communicating, he is calling, no one is picking. I called, no one responds. (I) am a Member of Parliament. Chairman of security committee in Kenya Kamama calls, no one picks. This one (Birdi) calls, no no one picks. We are about 10 Members of Parliament. You are waiting to hear from who? From God? Jesus Christ to call you? Go away… We are the ones who make the law. When we want to break it we break it when we want.

He says: “When the President calls you have to respect. Whether you are … I don’t care. State House Comptroller calls then you say you can’t release the lorries?”

‘Big wars’

He gets even angrier and says: “The person who runs the contract will lose it. This is the Hon Keter. I fight big wars. I don’t fight small wars. You can even call the media and cover here. I will tell them the story. Tell your boss he is stupid. Even tomorrow there will be no job. Is this Kenya or Uganda…? Is this France? Go away! I have to see the President himself. Leave here tomorrow. Handcuff me!”

Police were heard explaining they are seconded there to enforce the law through the Kenya National Highways Authority and SGR.

They were also heard asking the nominated MP to bring the permit that would allow the lorries to be driven.

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