MPs allege foul play in Saitoti crash
Was there a government plot to get rid of Internal Security minister George Saitoti and his deputy Orwa Ojode? That was one of the possible scenarios presented by MPs in Parliament yesterday during a heated debate over the progress — or lack of it — in the investigations into the June 10 helicopter crash. The MPs accused the government and specifically Transport minister Amos Kimunya of frustrating the public inquest headed by Court of Appeal judge Kalpana Rawal.
Nominated MP Rachel Shebesh sparked off the debate when she asked whether there was a plot within government to kill Saitoti and Ojode. The chopper pilot Nancy Gituanja, her co-pilot Luke Oyugi and Saitoti's bodyguards Joshua Tonkei and Timothy Murimi also died in the crash. "The minister should tell us who was the first person on the crash site. The Vice-President (Kalonzo Musyoka) was not the first person on site. The first person on site was Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and when the Vice-President came, he walked away while his boss was lying on the ground," said Shebesh.
She asked why Iteere did not have the crash site secured when he first arrived at the scene. Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo made an impassioned plea to have another minister, but not Kimunya, assigned the responsibility of briefing the House and the public on the progress of the probe. Kilonzo accused Kimunya of frustrating family members and the probe team. The MPs accused the government and its agents of interfering with the crash site. They said the government had failed to preserve the crash site which meant that vital evidence required in the investigation had been obliterated due to the ravages of weather and interference.
The MPs claimed the government had frustrated the experts the Saitoti family had flown in from South Africa at their own cost to represent them in the investigations. The experts left the country on Wednesday. They alleged the government had failed to provide the 40-foot container they had requested to store the debris from the crash site until such a time that it could be stripped.
Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim ordered the Sergeant-at-Arms to provide Shebesh with round-the-clock security of her own choice after she expressed fears for her life due to the "immense information" she had on the deaths. Kimunya was hard pressed to deal with the barrage of questions from MPs who accused him of taking the matter lightly, ignoring their queries and being dishonest in his responses to some of the questions.
Narok South MP Nkoidila ole Lankas said the accident scene was interfered with and demanded that the government explain why it allowed some of the wreckage to be removed from the site; who took the debris and where it was being kept. MPs Harun Mwau, Mike Sonko and William Kabogo claimed Saitoti and Ojode may have been killed by conspirators in the drug business due to their bold stand against drug peddling. “The two were serious investigators and held a strong stand against drug peddling. They brought serious reports about those behind the business in the House may have been killed," said Mwau.
However Kimunya accused the MPs of using the privilege of the House to peddle rumours and speculation. He confirmed the government had upgraded the public inquest into a Commission of Inquiry after concerns were raised about the slow progress. The Commission will start its public hearings at the KICC from Monday. Kimunya asked all those with information to present themselves to the commission.
Yesterday, Jubilee Insurance Company presented the Saitoti and Ojode families with a cheque of Sh10 million each from the MPs' life insurance policy scheme. Another Sh10 million was given to the family of the late Environment minister John Michuki. This is the standard amount given to families of MPs who die in office.