An 11-member Senate Committee headed by Kakamega legislator Cleopas Malala has begun the process of hearing impeachment motion against embattled Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.
The committee has structured the hearing to accord both the governor and her accusers a day each to argue out their cases.
The hearing involves giving Kirinyaga County Assembly team or witnesses at least three hours to present evidence and justify the impeachment.
The process will proceed tomorrow (Wednesday) when the governor and her defence team will be accorded time for the rebuttal to launch defence against the allegations.
On Saturday, Waiguru tabled 40 cartons of evidentiary documents to the Office of the Clerk of the Senate for her defence in conformity with the deadline set by the Senate committee.
‘Cartons of evidence’
While speaking to the media on Saturday, her lawyer and husband Kamotho Waiganjo confirmed the submission of the evidence in 40 cartons but lamented the escalation that the matter.
The MCAs, who spent a night in the precincts of the county assembly before the impeachment day, accused Waiguru of over abuse of office, gross misconduct, and manipulating the public procurement procedures.
They also accused her of illegally conferring a benefit of Sh10 million to herself for travel allowance.
The governor was ousted on June 9, 2020, after 23 out of 33 MCAs voted in support of her impeachment on the charges of violation of the Constitution, abuse of office and gross misconduct.
Four MCAs abstained and six of the ward reps were absent during the movement of the motion.
The motion was tabled on March 31 by Mutira MCA David Kinyua Wangui who faulted the governor for deliberately failing to submit county plans and policies to the County Assembly for approval.
Amidst this is dissent from a section of Kirinyaga MCAs and some senators who are of the view that the constituents may not be able to get justice. The leaders claim that the Senate committee may be inclined to save the governor against all odds.
A total of 45 senators out of 60 voted in favour of the committee. The remaining 14 wanted plenary hearing to handle the matter with one senator abstaining
According to the directive by Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, the committee would start investigating Waiguru immediately and would present a report after 10 days, making June 26 the last day for her to know her fate.
Tangatanga allied senators opposed the select committee, saying it will save the embattled governor.
The opponents of the committee were led by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen who said the formation of the committee will be an injustice to the people of Kirinyaga, whose funds Waiguru has been accused of embezzling.
“To the people of Kirinyaga I am sorry, we did our best but It is finished Your fight for accountability has been frustrated by Senate don’t give up use other avenues,” he said.
He accused the Senate of creating an opportunity for the governor to escape punishment
Through the constituted select committee.
“Senate has sanitised and cleared the Governor of Kirinyaga. It’s done. Don’t wait for the Committee’s decision,” he said.
But Siaya Senator James Orengo, in defence of former Devolution Cabinet Secretary, said that her tribulations were being propagated by outsiders who were using Kirinyaga leaders.
“Waiguru’s head is being asked for not by the County Assembly. I can tell you, and I have the evidence. The people who are looking for Waiguru’s head is not the County Assembly,” he said.
Here are the highlights from the Senate committee hearing:
10.05 am: Senate committee chair Cleopas Malala says a short prayer before the hearing begins.
Says Senator Kirinyaga Ruebenson Kibiru had requested to attend the committee and was allowed to by the Standing Order 209 to attend the hearing.
Introduction: 10.11 am: Members of the committee are Halake Abishiro (deputy chair), Beatrice Kwamboka, Judith Pareno, Mwangi Githiomi, Phillip Salau, Moses Kajwang, Rtd Justice Mathayo, Dr Michael Mbito, Anwar Loitiptip, Beth Mugo via zoom.
County Assembly team: Ndegwa Njiru-the advocate of the Kirinyaga County, Leader of Majority James Murango, Chair of Budget David Mathenge and Davidson Muchira.
Governor Anne Waiguru and her lawyers Paul Nyamodi, lawyer of Anne Waiguru, Kamotho Waigonjo, Andrew Karani and Sellah Bukonko Chief of Staff.
Malala urges parties to desist from discussing the matter while still being discussed by the committee.
Says it is important to observe the 10 days given to decide the matter.
10.30 am: Charges are read to the governor while standing thereafter the committee will discuss any other matters. The clerk is reading the various charges against Governor Waiguru.
10.55 am: Malala calls for the hearing of preliminary matters. County Assembly says they have and governor’s side also prepares.
Kirinyaga County Assembly: Files application based on the legal principle of fair hearing. County Assembly lawyer says the assembly has not been able to verify authenticity governor’s travel documents. Says document on travel is not clear on entries and exits to the particular countries. Also, want original travel documents especially passport to verify travel history.
County Assembly lawyer says a receipt provided by the governor is not clear. Says they cannot deduce content, the purpose of payment and the bank.
Waiguru’s lawyer Nyamodi responds: Says the governor has no issue to prove but it is the assembly that has the issue to prove the charges it framed against the governor.
Asks: “What was their evidence that the governor had not travelled?” Says governor’s response cannot be assembly’s evidence to incriminate the governor.
Says they will share with the assembly and the committee the documents as requested by the assembly.
Nyamodi says allegations against the governor are contained in some documents whose evidence need to be tested. Says they request for admission of one additional person. Says the Assembly has summoned Carrilus Otieno who is a witness for the governor. Asks the committee to allow him to testify tomorrow.
Assembly lawyer Ndegwa: Says the governor is overlooking the pieces of evidence provided adding that the defence have only used the particulars of the motion as the evidence, not knowing that there is a legal provision to adduce more evidence besides it.
Ndegwa says both sides are seeking for justice and asks the committee to quash the objections by Nyamodi, lawyer’s governor. Also says the there are no new pieces of evidence. Also argues that there is no legal provision requiring some arrangement and pagination of documents as alleged by the defence team.
Nyamodi: Says he received the documents as was presented to him by the county assembly lawyers.
Malala: Directs Sergeant-at-arms to help in facilitating the entry of the person requested by the defence team into the House. Senator Malala says the committee will be back in 30 minutes with the ruling on preliminary matters.
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