The Senate has vowed to take CS Fred Matiang’i head on over his directive to suspend the licenses of country’s betting firms. The have given the Interior CS an ultimatum to review the rules, telling him to stop misusing his powers. They accuse Matiang’i of high handedness and dictatorship in discharging his duties.
”We do not want to live in a country that public policies depend on the CS sitting in the office instead of the rule of law. Shutting down of text codes and paybill numbers of the companies was ill-advised, and that gamblers will not be able to withdraw or deposit money. The funds will remain in the gaming wallets of the affected gaming companies until this impasse is resolved,” said Senator Cleophas Malala.
The Kakamega Senator also hit out at the Betting Control and Licensing Board and the CS for revoking permits of betting companies and a subsequent signing deportation papers of 17 foreign directors last week.
” The reason advanced for this shutdown range from taxation, morality and money laundering claims that have rocketed the financial sector. Suppose these claims were valid, the Government should have invoked the provisions of the Betting, Lottery and Gaming Act about the forfeiture of licence and security on conviction and disqualification of the betting firms and not engage in the blanket condemnation of the companies,” said the lawmaker.
On his part, Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen accused CS Matiang’i of being a dictator who is misusing his powers. He reminded the CS that his position is on temporary and that he should exercise his power responsibly.
“The minister’s powers are donated by the Constitution and can be repealed. We should overhaul all gambling laws in the country. We need to understand whose responsibility is to licence and ensure the permit is protected,” said Mr Murkomen.
Other Senators who hit out at the CS over his directive were Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko and his Tharaka Nithi counterpart Kithure Kindiki all of whom called Matiang’i a hotheaded dictator.