SMOKED OUT

Senators reprimand state counsel for 'lying'

Solicitor General said the AG did not give any instruction of such a nature.

In Summary
  • He had said before the committee on February 4 that he was under instructions of the Attorney General not to say a word on the Sh63 billion leased medical equipment deal.
  • Mwenda said he was verbally instructed by his boss not to speak on the subject as he (AG) was willing to appear in person.
Chairperson of the Senate ad hoc committee on Managed Equipment Service Fatuma Dullo.
Chairperson of the Senate ad hoc committee on Managed Equipment Service Fatuma Dullo.
Image: FILE

A State Counsel attached to the Health ministry was accused on Thursday of misleading senators over the Sh63 billion leased medical equipment deal.

Chief State Counsel James Mwenda found himself in a tight spot over his earlier statement to the Senate Managed Equipment Services ad hoc committee.

He had said before the committee on February 4 that he was under instructions of the Attorney General not to say a word on the Sh63 billion leased medical equipment deal.

Mwenda said he was verbally instructed by his boss not to speak on the subject as he (AG) was willing to appear in person.

He was asked by the committee chaired by Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dulo to provide a letter of instruction.

The lawmakers warned the official of dire consequences in the event it was found that his intention was to mislead the committee.

“The action is tantamount to obstruction of a parliamentary probe. If your intention was to mislead, the consequences are clear,” Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula told Mwenda.

This was after Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto told senators that the AG did not give any instruction of such a nature.

He said the office of the AG would deal with the matter through its internal administrative mechanisms.

“We will deal with this matter. It can never be an intention of the AG to give such instructions. We will take remedial measures to ensure this does not recur,” Ogeto said.

Dulo said the officer did not just offend the ad hoc committee but embarrassed the office he represents.

“You are on record saying that which you are now denying. This has complicated matters. The AG's office is a respected one,” he said.

Mwenda apologised to the committee saying, “It has never been my intention to obstruct this committee’s work. I tender my unreserved apology.”

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya