Parliament: MPs Cash for Votes

Posted by on 19th March 2012

Categories:   Uncategorized

After parliament’s about turn on the issue of the Central Bank Governor’s role in the decline of the shilling written about here, accusations emerged that MPs were bribed in order to change their stance on the sacking of the CBK governor. Shakeel Shabbir, MP for Kisumu Town East, member of the Finance Committee, and member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Depreciation of the Shilling stated money was paid to MPs to have the name of the Central Bank Governor and all the recommendations touching on his office expunged from the Committee’s Report.

“A journalist called me two days ago and asked me if I thought MPs were corrupt, or if I thought money had changed hands in the debate on the (decline of the) shilling report. I said no. I tried to defend the MPs but after what happened yesterday, I can say that MPs are corrupt! People were paid. They took money” Shakeel Shabbir stated when questioned about whether MPs accepted cash to change their position on whether the Central Bank Governor should be relieved of office.

The Star newspaper reportedly, “spoke to four MPs who confirmed receiving payments to support the removal of Ndung’u’s name.”

According to another newspaper report, “To most MPs, such deals are part of the lobbying. The payments range from Kshs. 5,000 to Kshs. 200,000, but some get more, depending on how they are viewed in the House. Those known to be guns for hire cost more. The MPs congregate at an office in Parliament or in the lavatory to get paid.”

This is not the first time MPs have been accused of accepting money in exchange for voting a certain way. Similar accusations of cash for votes were made when the report on the maize scandal was thrown out and during the debate on the parliamentary report on the fraudulent purchase of the Kshs 1.1 billion in Japan.

Considering how quick the government is to form special ad hoc committees, tribunals, or commissions to investigate anything and everything; and considering the gravity of the allegations of corruption within parliament one would think a special body would be set up to investigate corruption in parliament. As a side note who checks parliament? Have we the Kenyan public, gotten to a stage where we accept corruption, and money for votes amongst our members of parliament as a given? With parliament on recess the issue of votes for cash is likely to be swept under the proverbial carpet yet again.