Under fire Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri could be arrested if MPs make good their threats to have him compelled to honour parliamentary summons.
The National Assembly Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday November 30 ordered CS Kiunjuri to appear before it by Tuesday November 6 following four snubbed summons that have drawn the ire of the legislators.
Speaking at parliament buildings, the visibly irked MPs led by committee chairperson Mandera South MP Adan Haji blasted Kiunjuri for his no-show at a time when he was supposed to set the record straight on the much publicized troubles bedeviling his ministry as well as alleged corruption scandals.
“We are sending out a summon to CS Kiunjuri to appear before this committee latest Tuesday next week. Failure to do so will lead us to invoke powers and privileges vested on this committee by the National Assembly’s standing orders,” said a visibly irked Haji.
Parliament’s Standing Order no 191 (3) states, “Parliament may order the arrest of a witness who fails to honour summons for the purpose of compelling his attendance,”
Standing Order 191A (1) states “Where a summoned witness does not appear or appears and fails to satisfy the house or committee, the house or committee may impose upon the witness a fine of not exceeding Ksh500,000 shillings having regard to the witness’s condition in life and all the circumstances in the case,”
The MPs were also livid at Kiunjuri for “wasting their time” as they claimed that most of them had travelled from their constituencies to attend the meeting.
According to the MPs, Kiunjuri has been invited to appear before the committee four times, summons which he has all ignored.
“He was the one who suggested that today would be a convenient time for him to appear before the committee. We had invited him four times before settling on today. We sent the last invite on October 23 when he confirmed that he will be available. Failure to honour parliament’s summons is unacceptable,” said the Mandera South MP.
Kiunjuri was expected to explain to the MPs measures he has put in place to make sure that farmers are paid and to as well set the record straight on corruption allegations.
The Cabinet Secretary has also been castigated publicly twice by President Uhuru Kenyatta who has warned him of jail time if he does not shame the traders and well-connected individuals who were paid millions of shillings at the expense of small scale farmers.