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Impeachment: Select Committee Clears Linturi In Fake Fertilizer Scandal

It is understood that those opposed to his removal were of the opinion that the impeachment motion that was filed by Bumula MP Wamboka Wanami is solely because of his affair with Kitany which played out during the hearings of the proceedings.

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Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has been saved from impeachment by the special committee of the National Assembly.

In the 11-member committee that was selected to investigate the charges against the CS, seven voted to quash the motion that was overwhelmingly approved by MPs.

Even as the committee retired to decide on the fate of the CS, cracks had already emerged in the 11-member committee with insiders claiming it was strategically constituted to save Linturi.

The team was divided as those from President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) who make up the majority had voted to save him while those in the opposition wanted him sent home on grounds that farmers received substandard fertilizer.

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Insiders say that during the report writing stage there was intense lobbying from both sides and under hand-dealings which were cut to try and save Linturi from ouster.

It is understood that those opposed to his removal were of the opinion that the impeachment motion that was filed by Bumula MP Wamboka Wanami is solely because of his affair with Kitany which played out during the hearings of the proceedings.

The sources further revealed the focus of the love affair now gone sour during the hearings was to the advantage of Linturi as some of the committee members used the said opportunity to argue in his favour.

What next?

The committee chaired by Majority whip and Marsabit woman representative Naomi Waqo that had retreated to Argyle Grand Hotel on Mombasa Road to write its report is expected to table its report today 10 days since it was constituted to allow the House to deliberate on it.

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Had the allegations stood, the National Assembly would have afforded the CS an opportunity to be heard and voted by a resolution of a majority of the 349 MPs in the House, which is 176, to approve the resolution requiring the CS to be dismissed.

The controversial committee list 

Even as the committee prepares to table the report dismissing the charges, Mr. Wamboka said that he will be opposing the report when it is tabled in the National Assembly should it exonerate Linturi as it will not be representing the wishes of farmers.

He raised issues with the composition of the committee saying, it is ironic that the members who voted to reject his impeachment motion were the ones who were investigating the said matter.

Waqo, Racheal Nyamai (Kitui South), George Murugara (Tharaka), Malulu Injendi (Malava),Kassim Tandaza (Matuga ) and Njeri Maina (Kirinyaga woman representative) who are members of the committee voted against the motion while  Robert Mbui (Kathiani), Tom Kajwang(Ruaraka), Catherine Omanyo(Busia Woman Representative) and Yussuf Farah (Wajor West) were among the 149 members who voted to have Lituri investigated. Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga’s vote was not captured anywhere.

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While communicating to the House on the composition of the special committee, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula had said that majority side Kenya Kwanza Alliance, which is dominated by President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), would have six slots, minority side Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition four and Jubilee Party one slot.

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The list generated by National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah (UDA, Kikuyu) had Ms Waqo, the deputy majority whip, Samuel Chepkong’a (UDA, Ainabkoi), George Murugara (UDA, Tharaka), Malulu Injendi (ANC, Malava), Njeri Maina (UDA, Kirinyaga Woman Representative) and Kassim Tandaza (ANC, Matuga).

The Azimio side had deputy minority leader Robert Mbui (Wiper, Kathiani), Tom Kajwang’ (ODM, Ruaraka), Catherine Omanyo (ODM, Busia Woman Representative) and Yusuf Farah (ODM, Wajir West).

The Jubilee Party, though a member of Azimio as per the records at the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) but which Mr Wetang’ula had ruled is a political party while allocating it a chief whip position, had Kitui South MP Rachael Nyamai.

Curiously, all the six members nominated by Mr Ichung’wah to the committee, with the exception of one, voted to oppose the formation of the committee to investigate Mr Linturi.

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They were Ms Waqo, Mr Murugara, Mr Injendi, Ms Maina and Mr Tandaza. Dr Nyamai, who is allied with Kenya Kwanza, also voted to oppose the formation of the committee. Mr Chepkong’a, who was within the chambers, neither vote for or against the motion and did not record his abstention.

From the Azimio side, only Mr Kajwang’ and Ms Omanyo voted for the establishment of the committee to investigate Mr Linturi.

Mr Mbui and Mr Farah neither abstained nor voted for or against the motion and it was not clear whether they were in the chambers or not during voting.

Bribery

The decision of the select committee comes amid claims of bribery.

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Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdulahi had claimed that the members had been bribed with Ah5 million each to absolve Linturi of the charges and clear him of involvement in the fertilizer scam.

“5m × 11=acquittal for Hon CS MITHIKA LINTURI by the Parliamentary select committee. ..that is Kenya for you…a FUCKING CHARADE!” The lawyer had posted on Friday.

Reacting to the latest development, Ahmednasir reiterated the bribery claims and asserted that he knew how it would’ve ended, “I told you my people…5m×11=Hon Mithika Linturi’s ACQUITTAL! I told you my people!”

On May 2nd 2024, the National Assembly approved a motion that seeks the dismissal of CS Linturi, who is alleged to have approved the procurement and distribution of fake fertilizer by the National Cereals and Produce Board, has failed to exercise public trust and to carry out the duties in a transparent and accountable manner amounting to gross misconduct and gross violation of the Constitution.

In his closing statement, CS Linturi, through his lawyer Senior Counsel Muthomi Thiankolu, distanced himself from the subsidized fertliser procurement process. “A cabinet secretary is not directly involved in procurement,” SC Thiankolu argued, placing responsibility on the NCPB Managing Director.

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SC Thiankolu also countered that the allegations as outlined in the motion lacked specifics and a clear link between CS Linturi and the alleged wrongdoing.


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